1906 American League All-Star Team

P-Al Orth, NYY

P-Doc White, CHW

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Barney Pelty, SLB

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Ed Walsh, CHW

P-Casey Patten, WSH

P-Red Donahue, DET

P-Bob Rhoads, CLE

C-Nig Clarke, CLE

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, NYY

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

SS-Terry Turner, CLE

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-Kid Elberfeld, NYY

LF-George Stone, SLB

CF-Elmer Flick, CLE

CF-Charlie Hemphill, SLB

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

 

orth3

P-Al Orth, New York Highlanders, 33 Years Old

1901 1905

27-17, 2.34 ERA, 133 K, .274, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-7.7

Wins-27

Innings Pitched-338 2/3

Complete Games-36

Hits Allowed-317

3rd Time All-Star-After having a long, decent career, Orth had his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (8.7), first in WAR for Pitchers (7.7), first in innings pitched (338 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). Led by Orth’s arm, Clark Griffith’s Highlanders rose from sixth to second, finishing with a 90-61 record. At the end of 143 games, New York was tied for first place, but they went 5-6 the rest of the way and finished three games behind Chicago. Led by the hitting of Kid Elberfeld, the Highlanders almost won their first ever crown. They’d be waiting quite a few years for that first one, but once they achieve it, there are many, many more to come.

Baseball Reference says, “During his career, Orth was known to have excellent control, recording only 1.77 walks per nine innings (#47 on the all-time list). In addition to his 440 major league appearances as a pitcher, he was in 55 games as an outfielder, 8 as a shortstop, 6 as a second baseman, and 4 as a first baseman. He wasn’t a position player converted to pitcher in the majors; rather, he started out as a pitcher and, starting in his third season in the majors, almost always appeared in a few games as a position player as well.

“As of 2010, Orth is one of only two major league players to come out of DePauw University. He is also only one of two big leaguers with the name “Orth”; the other one, Orth Collins, was his teammate on the 1904 Highlanders.”

whited3

P-Doc White, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

1902 1903

18-6, 1.52 ERA, 95 K, .185, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 AL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.52

Walks & Hits per IP-0.903

Adjusted ERA+-167

Adj. Pitching Runs-28

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.3

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1903, White had ERAs of 1.78 in 1904 and 1.76 in 1905 and still didn’t make the list. It was definitely a pitching era in baseball during this time and White pitched on the most famous of the all-pitch, no-hit teams of them all, the 1906 “Hitless Wonders” of Chicago. White finished fifth in WAR (6.7), second in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), first in ERA (1.52), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (167). In the World Series, he pitched three games, starting two of them, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

Wikipedia says, “That year, the White Sox won the pennant and their first World Series. In Game 5, White recorded the first save in Series history.

“The following season [1907], White set a career-high in wins with 27. He pitched effectively for Chicago until 1912, had an off-year in 1913, and then went to the Pacific Coast League from 1914 to 1915.

“White also gained some recognition as a composer, publishing at least four songs (such as bestseller ‘Little Puff of Smoke, Good Night’ in 1910) with his co-writer Ring Lardner, who was a sportswriter in Chicago during that period.

“White died at age 89 in Silver Spring, Maryland, just eight months after witnessing Don Drysdale surpass his record of 45 consecutive scoreless innings on June 4, 1968.”

Doc certainly was a great pitcher for a stretch of time, but the low-scoring era in which he played tends to overrate hurlers, which is why he’s not really a viable Hall of Fame candidate.

mullin3

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1903 1904

21-18, 2.78 ERA, 123 K, .225, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-108 (4th Time)

Batters Faced-1,361 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-113

3rd Time All-Star-Mullin always threw wildly and in 1905, he walked 138 batters, the most of his career. That, more than anything, kept this year from being his fourth straight All-Star team. No matter, he had his best season ever in 1906, finishing ninth in WAR (5.8), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), and third in innings pitched (330).

As for Detroit, it dropped from third to sixth and probably didn’t realize it was on the brink of greatness. Bill Armour managed the team to a 71-78 record due to a lack of hitting and pitching. However, Ty Cobb would become a superstar in 1907 and the Tigers would turn things around.

SABR says, “In 1903, Mullin achieved a breakthrough performance with a 19-15 record and 2.25 ERA, though wildness caused him to lead the league in walks, with 106. He continued to lead the circuit in free passes every year through 1907, but during that time he also developed into one of the league’s most durable pitchers. He led the league in innings pitched with 347 2/3 in 1905, and in September 1906 he started and won both ends of a doubleheader against Washington.

“Mullin still holds four single-season Detroit pitching records for a right hander, all set in 1904: most games started (44); most complete games (42); most innings pitched (381 1/3), and most games lost (23). His 209 victories as a Tiger rank second in franchise history.” He’s most likely going to fall short of making my Hall of Fame, but the durable Mullin was effective for a long time on a winning team.

waddell5

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1902 1903 1904 1905

15-17, 2.21 ERA, 196 K, .163, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.469 (6th Time)

Strikeouts-196 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-There can’t really be characters like Waddell, can there? These are the kinds of people you see in baseball movies, like Cerrano doing voodoo in Major League. They can’t be real, can they? Yet Waddell certainly was real and definitely was bizarre. Yet, incredibly, he also was one of the best pitchers of his era. This season, Waddell finished 10th in WAR (5.6), third in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Philadelphia, coached by Connie Mack, dropped from first to fourth, finishing with a 78-67 record. Harry Davis’ bat led its good hitting, However, besides Waddell, the Athletics’ pitching was average.

On every player, I list the Hall of Fames in which he’s inducted. Two of them are of my own invention. There is the ONEHOF, which admits one player a year, the best player who’s not currently in the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. Then there is Ron’s Hall of Fame in which there is a formula for getting in and if (Number of All-Star teams made X WAR) is 300 or greater, you’re in.

Waddell’s career isn’t going to be long enough to make the ONEHOF and, if he doesn’t make another All-Star team, he’s not going to make Ron’s team, either. Now, Waddell, had pretty good seasons the next two seasons, so it’s still possible, but it’s going to be close. That’s why I’m only giving him a one percent chance, because my best guess would say he’s not going to make the All-Star team again.

pelty

P-Barney Pelty, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

16-11, 1.59 ERA, 92 K, .165, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.526

Errors Committed as P-12

1st Time All-Star-Barney “The Yiddish Curver” Pelty was born on September 10, 1880 in Farmington, MO. He started with St. Louis in 1903 and had his best season this year. Pelty finished fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), second in ERA (1.59), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (163). According to Wikipedia, Pelty was known as the Yiddish Curver because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League.

As for Pelty’s team, St. Louis moved up from eighth to fifth with a 76-73 record. Jimmy McAleer managed the team for his fifth straight year and would be with the Browns three more. With Pelty leading the way, the team had decent pitching, which helped it gain in the standings.

SABR says, “In his best season, 1906, Pelty finished with a 1.59 ERA, which still stands as a record for the lowest single season ERA in Browns/Orioles franchise history, and a league-best .202 opponents batting average, but still won only 16 games. A man of cautious intelligence, with handsomely broad features and prominent ears that made him seem slightly older than he was, Pelty was often used by his managers as a field coach, and after his baseball career dabbled in trade and politics. One of only a handful of Jewish ballplayers during the Deadball Era, ‘the Yiddish Curver’ made no attempt to hide his heritage, but was also not a religious person. If he faced anti-Semitism, he certainly never complained publicly or let it be known that it bothered him. He was a proud man who dealt with life the way he dealt with the hard-luck team he played for, with a quiet and dignified professionalism.”

joss2

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1905

21-9, 1.72 ERA, 106 K, .210, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Joss made the team for the second straight season and would have been one of the all-time greats if he had a longer career. This season, he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), third in ERA (1.72), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (152). I give my thoughts on him making Cooperstown in last year’s blurb if you want to check it out.

SABR says, “Joss’s stellar work in the 1906 season, in which he went 21-9 with a 1.72 ERA, third best in the league, earned him another bonus. After the 1906 campaign Joss took an off-season job with the Toledo News Bee as the writer of a Sunday sports column. In his column, which Joss penned himself, Addie spoke of serious baseball issues, related humorous stories from his own experiences in the game, and also covered the Mud Hens and other local baseball teams. He would become known as an extremely talented and popular sportswriter, especially for his coverage of the World Series. Joss’s familiar voice in the column gave him greater fan support during his holdout for a salary increase before the start of the 1907 season. He finally settled for a $4,000 contract.”

As of this writing, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Because my Hall of Fame is figured by how many All-Star teams a player makes, it’s impossible for me to say whether or not I would have them in my Hall. If I had to guess, I would say “no” for Morris and “yes” for Trammell. I’m actually glad Trammell was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee, because he deserved to be voted in.

Advertisements

1906 National League All-Star Team

P-Vic Willis, PIT

P-Mordecai Brown, CHC

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Jake Weimer, CIN

P-Jack Taylor, STL/CHI

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Jack Pfiester, CHC

P-Vive Lindaman, BSN

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

2B-Sammy Strang, NYG

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CHC

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN/NYG

RF-Harry Lumley, BRO

 

willis5

P-Vic Willis, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1899 1901 1902 1903

23-13, 1.73 ERA, 124 K, .174, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.2

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

5th Time All-Star-As time marches on and computers take over the world, we toss aside our love for such stats as wins and winning percentage. We don’t just look at a 23-13 record like Willis has this season and say to ourselves, “What a fantastic year!” We also don’t look at his record from 1905 which was 12-29 and say, “What a horrible year!” Fortunately, we have matured and realize wins and losses have as much to do with the team for which a pitcher toils as much as their own talent. And in between 1905 and 1906, Willis went from the pathetic Beaneaters to the outstanding Pirates, as he was traded for  Dave BrainDel Howard and Vive Lindaman.

After pitching 410 innings in 1902, it took Willis a little time to reacquire his dominance, but it’s back this season. He finished second in WAR (8.1), first in WAR for Pitchers (8.2), fourth in ERA (1.73), third in innings pitched (322), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (153). Most importantly, he is now a prestigious member of Ron’s Hall of Fame, my personal Hall of Fame which tries to take all feelings out of the choice and put anyone in whose number of All-Star games multiplied by their career WAR is 300 or over. Welcome to Carter Lake, IA, Vic!

PSA says of Willis, “A workhorse by nature, Willis completed 388 of the 471 games he started. Vic Willis still holds the National League record for most complete games in a season with 45, and the less than auspicious record of most losses in a season (29).”

brownm2

P-Mordecai Brown, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903

26-6, 1.04 ERA, 144 K, .204, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.04

Walks & Hits per IP-0.934

Shutouts-9

Adjusted ERA+-253

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.08

Adj. Pitching Runs-45

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5

2nd Time All-Star-At the end of the 1903 season, Three Finger Brown was  traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Jack O’Neill to the Chicago Cubs for Larry McLean and Jack Taylor. He had decent years of the Cubs in 1904 and 1905, but this year really broke through. He finished fifth in WAR (7.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), first in ERA (1.04), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (253), the highest ERA+ since Time Keefe (293) in 1880. It was the first of five straight seasons in which Brown’s ERA will be under two.

This set up a no-brainer, a pitcher with a miniscule ERA going against a team known as the Hitless Wonders in the World Series. But in a plot twist, the White Sox hammered Miner. In game one, the Cubs lost 2-1; in game four, Brown shut out the Sox, 1-0; and then was picked to pitch game six, with the Cubs down 3-2, on only one day of rest. Manager Frank Chance took a chance and lost, as Three Finger gave up seven runs in less than two innings and his team lost the game, 8-3.

In Brown’s 1903 blurb, I mentioned he had four-and-a-half fingers, not three. Bleacher Report differs, writing, “Reports later found that he actually had three fingers—not four. When he had the injury on the corn shredder, he injured another finger! Brown kept quiet about it until he was well into his adulthood.” There must be a picture of his hand somewhere on the internet, but I’m too lazy to look. [Ed. Note-Found it!]

sparks3

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1903 1905

19-16, 2.16 ERA, 114 K, .154, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Sparks continued to be the Phillies’ best pitcher, having his best season ever. He finished eighth in WAR (6.5), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), seventh in ERA (2.16), fourth in innings pitched (316 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA (121).

As for his team, Philadelphia stayed in fourth place, though Hugh Duffy’s team’s record dipped from 83-69 to 71-82. It started out strong, going 7-3 and in first place on April 24, but faded after that. This was Duffy’s last year with the Phillies. He finished with an overall 206-251 record for them.

SABR writes of the Phillies’ pitcher, “In an entry for a Philadelphia Phillies blog, Tim Johnson wrote, ‘Tully Sparks pitched in baseball’s earliest days, a time when hitting was as poor as the players themselves.’ A good line, though one can quibble as to how early in baseball history 1895-1910 truly was, or how poor some of the hitters may have been. [Ed. Note-True dat! I’ve already written about 35 seasons!] Sparks himself pitched 12 years in the major leagues and recorded a career earned-run average of 2.82, with three exceptional years, 1905 through 1907.

“He was a right-hander, of more or less average size for an athlete of the day at 5-feet-10 and 160 pounds. He grew up in what appears to be a well-off farming family in Georgia, attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, and made a decent enough living playing professional baseball.”

When Sparks was good, he was sensational. The problem is if you take away his four best seasons, he’s mediocre at best.

weimer4

P-Jake Weimer, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

20-14, 2.22 ERA, 141 K, .269, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

4th Time All-Star-Not too many players had the kind of start to their Major League career as Weimer did. This is his fourth consecutive All-Star team, but unfortunately he wasn’t on the Cubs anymore. After the 1905 season, he was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Cincinnati Reds for Jimmy Sebring and Harry Steinfeldt. And what happened after he left Chicago? It won the pennant, of course. As for Weimer, he had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), 10th in ERA (2.22), sixth in innings pitched (304 2/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

Hall of Fame Manager Ned Hanlon took over for Joe Kelley as manager of the Reds and the team dropped from fifth to sixth, with a 64-87 record. The team’s hitting was poor and its pitching mediocre. Cincinnati finished 51-and-a-half games behind the Cubs. Wow, just a break here or there and….

After this season, Weimer declined, going 19-21 for the Reds over the next two seasons, then finishing his career pitching one game for the Giants in 1909. Tornado Jake finished with a 97-69 lifetime record, along with a 2.23 ERA and a career WAR of 27.0.

No-No Hitters says, “During the second game of a Friday doubleheader on August 24, 1906, Weimer no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas at the Palace of the Fans during a planned seven-inning nightcap.

“’The second game was a case of “nothing doing” for the Superbas,’ according to a report for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, ‘[Doc] Casey, by being hit in the first and [Harry] McIntire, by means of a pass in the third, being the only ones of the visitors to get a look-in on Weimer’s delivery.’”

taylorj3

P-Jack Taylor, St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs, 32 Years Old

1902 1904

20-12, 1.99 ERA, 61 K, .208, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Taylor started the season with the Cardinals, going 8-9 with a 2.15 ERA before he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs for Fred BeebePete Noonan and cash on July 1. For the Cubs, Taylor went 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA but didn’t pitch in the World Series. Altogether, he finished 10th in WAR (5.8), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), sixth in ERA (1.99), seventh in innings pitched (302 1/3), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (132). He was the only player to make the All-Star team for the Cards.

St. Louis dropped from sixth to seventh, compiling a 58-92 record under the guidance of new manager, John McCloskey. They would keep him around until 1908 and never be close to being successful under him. McCloskey would manage in parts of five different seasons and never have a higher winning percentage than he did this season (.347). The Cardinals couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch, therefore they finished 63 games out of first.

Taylor pitched just one more season, for the Cubs in 1907, before hanging it up as a Major League pitcher. For his career, he finished 152-139 with a 2.65 ERA and a 34.3 career WAR.

SABR tells of a remarkable feat of Taylor, saying, “The Deadball Era’s Jack Taylor–not to be confused with ‘Brewery Jack’ Taylor, who died in 1900–was the greatest ‘iron man’ pitcher of the 20th century, hurling 187 consecutive complete games from June 20, 1901, to August 9, 1906.”

ewingb2

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1905

13-14, 2.38 ERA, 145 K, .139, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Ewing made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season, continuing to be one of the Reds’ best pitchers. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7), consistently giving Cincinnati good starts. He probably has another All-Star season left in his arm.

As I compile this list, it’s clear the National League has a problem. Most of its best pitchers are aging. Of the six write-ups I’ve done so far, five of them are 30-years-old or older. Of course, its best pitcher, Christy Mathewson, had an off year. (What does an off year look like for Big Six? He finished 22-12 with a 2.97 ERA. Trade him!) Still, there aren’t a lot of great young pitchers in this league.

Wikipedia writes of Ewing’s wife, “On November 5, 1905, Bob married Nelle Hunter, the daughter of a prominent Auglaize County physician. The society pages of a Cincinnati paper described as being a ‘handsome and clever society girl.’ She was an avid baseball fan in her own right.

“Beginning in the 1890s, she attended what was at the time a major league record of more than 60 straight opening day games of the Reds. She had equal measures of loyalty and superstition, however. Nelle watched several games in 1905 that her husband lost. After that, she refused to go to the park when Ewing pitched, claiming her presence would ‘hoodoo’ him, according to the newspaper accounts.

“Bob and Nelle had a son Robert, who married Sylvia Metzger. They had nine children: Christine, Coleen, Charles, Carol, Chris, Charlotte, Cliff, Cindy and Connie.”

duggleby3

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 32 Years Old

1901 1905

13-19, 2.25 ERA, 83 K, .141, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Duggleby made the All-Star team for the second straight season and had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.0). He’s now the sixth of seven National League pitchers who is 30-years-old or older. After this season, Duggleby played just one more season, splitting his time between the Phillies and the Pirates. He played eight major league seasons, with his home team being in Pennsylvania every year. Duggleby finished his Major League career with a 93-102 record, a 3.18 ERA, and a 13.4 career WAR.

SABR says, “Pitchers have contributed significantly to the grand slam story. It was a National League hurler, Bill Duggleby of the Phils, who was the only player ever to hit a bases loaded home run in his first at bat in the majors. This feat was accomplished on April 21, 1898. It was also a pitcher who was the only NL player to hit two grand slam homers in one game. This was Tony Cloninger of the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1966.

“The list of pitchers who hit grand slams is embellished also by the names of great American League hurlers such as Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Lefty Grove, Wes Ferrell, Red Ruffing, and Early Wynn. Burly Early did it as a pinch hitter, and we thought those instances should be included because calling on a hurler to pinch hit with the bases loaded is quite a compliment. In Wynn’s case, he hit his slam in the fifth and then pitched the rest of the way to win the game.”

reulbach2

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 23 Years Old

1905

19-4, 1.65 ERA, 94 K, .157, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.826

Hits per 9 IP-5.326 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Reulbach, born on December 1, my birthday, made his second straight All-Star team in only his sophomore year. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.6), third in ERA (1.65), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (159). In the World Series, he started the second game, limiting the White Sox to just one hit, a Jiggs Donahue single, and won the game, 7-1. He also started the fifth game, but only lasted two innings, giving up five hits and three runs. Reulbach didn’t get the loss, but the Cubs lost, 8-6.

SABR says, “According to J.C. Kofoed of Baseball Magazine, Big Ed Reulbach was ‘one of the greatest pitchers that the National League ever produced, and one of the finest, clean-cut gentlemen who ever wore a big league uniform.’ A statuesque 6’1″, 190 lb. right-hander, Reulbach employed the technique of ‘shadowing’—– hiding the ball in his windup — as well as a high leg kick like that of Juan Marichal (according to Chief Meyers in a 1967 interview) and what was generally regarded as the finest curve ball in either league to become one baseball’s most difficult pitchers to hit. He hurled two one-hitters, six two-hitters, and 13 three-hitters, and in 1906 he yielded 5.33 hits per nine innings, still the third-lowest ratio of all time.

“Reulbach remained one of the NL’s most dominant pitchers through 1909. In 1906 he pitched 12 low-hit games (five hits or fewer), not including the one-hitter he threw against the White Sox in Game Two of that year’s World Series, and started a 17-game personal winning streak that didn’t end until June 29, 1907, when Deacon Phillippe defeated him, 2-1.”

pfiester

P-Jack Pfiester, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

20-8, 1.51 ERA, 153 K, .048, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 36 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-John Albert “Jack the Giant Killer” Pfeister was born on May 24, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH.

SABR says, “A side-wheeling left-hander with a great pick-off move to first base that kept runners close, Jack Pfiester posted a lifetime 2.02 ERA over eight seasons, the third best of all-time for pitchers with at least 1,000 innings, but he is best remembered for his seven shutouts and 15-5 career record against the hated New York Giants. ‘No longer will Chicago’s fans struggle with the pretzel curves of the great southpaw’s patronymic; no longer will it be mispronounced by seven out of every eight bugs and bugettes,’ wrote I. E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune after Pfiester’s 2-1 victory over the Giants on August 30, 1908. ‘Pfiester, the spelling of which has been the occasion of as many wagers as its mispronunciation, will be dropped as meaningless and inappropriate, and for the rest of time and part of eternity Mr. Pfiester of private life will be known to the public and the historians as Jack the Giant Killer.’”

The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty started in 1903 for the Pirates, tossing six games over two seasons with a horrid 6.69 ERA. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1905 and then in August of that year, Pfiester was purchased by the Chicago Cubs from Omaha (Western).

This season, his best ever, the Giant Killer finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), second in ERA (1.51), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (174). In the World Series, Pfiester pitched two games, one as a starter, giving up seven runs in 10 1/3 innings for an 0-2 record and a 6.10 ERA.

lindaman

P-Vive Lindaman, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

12-23, 2.43 ERA, 115 K, .132, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 130 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-14

1st Time All-Star-Vivan Alexander “Vive” Lindaman was born on October 28, 1877 in Charles City, IA. He made the All-Star team in his rookie year, finishing fifth in innings pitched (307 1/3). He was Boston’s best player according to WAR.

Fred Tenney’s squad dropped from seventh to eighth with a 49-102 record. Shockingly, the manager would return in 1907. Their hitting and pitching both stunk so bad, the Beaneaters finished 66-and-a-half games out of first place.

Lindaman would pitch three more seasons with Boston, finishing his career with a 36-60 record, a 2.92 ERA, and a 2.3 career WAR. Wikipedia says, “Lindaman went 24–7 for the Eastern League‘s Jersey City Skeeters in 1905, and he made his major league debut the following season. In his first start with the Boston Beaneaters, he shut out Brooklyn 1–0. Despite throwing 32 complete games (third in the league) as a rookie, he finished 12–23; his team was shut out in eight of his losses.

“Lindaman kept in shape by walking 17 miles a day as a mail carrier.”

SABR tells of an infamous accomplishment Lindaman was part of, saying: ”In 1906 rookie right-hander Vive Lindaman’s 12-23 record for the Boston Beaneaters gained him admittance to an undesirable fraternity – the 20-game-loser club. But Lindaman was not without company, as three other hurlers on that hapless Boston team (Irv Young, 16-25; Big Jeff Pfeffer, 13-22; and Gus Dorner, 8-25) posted similarly dismal marks, giving Boston the rare distinction of having four 20-game losers on the same pitching staff.”

bresnahan4

C-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.281, 0 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-15

Passed Balls-16

4th Time All-Star-Once Bresnahan moved to catcher as his most-played position, no one in the National League outplayed him at backstop. This season, the Duke of Tralee finished seventh at WAR Position Players (4.6), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.9), second in on-base percentage (.419), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). All from a man who played only 124 of the Giants’ 154 games.

Despite not having any pitchers on the All-Star team, the Giants still finished in second after winning the pennant the last two seasons. John McGraw led New York to a 96-56 record, 20 games behind the record-setting Cubs. Art Devlin helped the Giants be the best hitting team in the league, while a balanced rotation helped the Giants do well from the mound. As late as May 24, New York was tied for first with a 23-11 record, but that was as close as they’d get for the rest of the season.

SABR says, “More influential were his efforts with shin guards. After discovering in a home-plate collision that Red Dooin of the Phillies wore papier-mâché protectors under his stockings, Bresnahan showed up on Opening Day 1907 wearing a huge pair of shin guards modeled after a cricketer’s leg pads. At first Roger’s innovation met with ridicule and protest-Pirates manager Fred Clarke insisted the guards posed a danger to sliding runners-but by 1909 a less bulky version was in general use. In another innovation that remains in use to this day, Roger added leather-bound rolls of padding to the circumference of his wire catcher’s mask around 1908 to help absorb the shock of foul tips.”

kling3

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.312, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-520 (5th Time)

Caught Stealing %-57.5

Fielding % as C-.982

3rd Time All-Star-Since making the All-Star team in 1903, Kling missed the list in 1904 and 1905 as his hitting deteriorated. This year, it was back as he had his best hitting season ever. Kling finished sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1), sixth in batting (.312), seventh in slugging (.420), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (136). In the World Series against the White Sox, that hitting faltered as he went three-for-17 (.176) with a double. He did walk a surprising four times, something that was never Noisy’s strong suit.

Pool continued to be an integral part of Kling’s life, according to Wikipedia, which says, “His skill at pool also served him well when it came time to negotiate his baseball salary. Before the 1906 season he announced that he would not sign a new contract unless Chicago offered him a raise in pay, and if the raise was not forthcoming he would stay home and play pool. This angered his manager, Frank Chance, who snapped that everyone else but Kling had come to terms with the club. He subsequently did decide to play, raise or not. He had another impressive season, catching 96 games and hitting over .300 for the record 116-36 pennant winners.”

Meanwhile SABR says, “His contemporaries, team mates and opponents alike, marveled at his ability to defend, handle pitchers and take part in the psychological warfare which was baseball in the early twentieth century. Johnny Evers claimed Kling could tell pitchers what their best stuff was during warm-ups.”

chance4

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

1903 1904 1905

.319, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-103

Stolen Bases-57 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Orson Welles, at the age of 25, directed, wrote, and starred in Citizen Kane, voted by many to be the best film ever. Frank Chance, at the age of 29, led his team, the Chicago Cubs, to the best record of all-time, 116-36, while also being their best player. He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (7.3), third in WAR Position Players (7.3), fourth in Offensive WAR (6.1), fifth in batting (.319), third in on-base % (.419), fifth in slugging (.430), first in steals (57), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158).

With their outstanding record, the Cubs made their first World Series, taking over first place on May 9 and never looking back. They could hit, but it was their pitching which put them over the top. Chicago’s ERA+ was 151, while Pittsburgh’s second place total was 120. It wasn’t even close. The team’s ERA was 1.75.

Because of their great pitching and hitting, they were heavily favored to beat their crosstown rivals, the White Sox. However, the team’s strength, its pitching, fell apart, giving up eight runs in the last two games as the American League squad took the Series, 4-2. Don’t worry, the Cubs will be back.

Chance’s Hall of Fame page states, “He led the Cubs to four pennants in five years (1906-08, 1910), helping set a long-standing team record for wins in 1906 with 116, matched only by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs lost the 1906 World Series to the White Sox, but won two back-to-back championships in 1907-08. He posted a .300 career average in the Fall Classic with 10 stolen bases and 21 hits.”

ritchey4

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

.269, 1 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 2B-.966 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-After having an off-season in 1905, Ritchey is back on the All-Star team. Second base is a deep position in the National League, as half the teams have a second sacker on this list. Ritchey finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.5) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.0). After this season, Little All Right was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Ginger Beaumont and Patsy Flaherty to the Boston Beaneaters for Ed Abbaticchio. He would finish up his career with Boston, which would change its nickname to the Doves after this season. Altogether, Ritchey finished with the a career WAR of 34.5, with a .273 average, 18 homers, and 675 RBI. He’s certainly no Nap Lajoie, but the little man held his own.

A website called Pirates Prospects says the following of Ritchey, “During his final season in Pittsburgh, Ritchey again was in the lineup everyday playing over 150 games for the third straight season. He hit .269 but drove in 62 runs, his highest total since 1901 and he also walked a career high 68 times. His glove was still strong, posting a .966 fielding percentage, tying his high while with the Pirates and for the fourth time he led the NL in that category. He had however lost a step in his game at age 32 and it was evident by his declining range in the field and his career low six stolen bases. Following the season the Pirates pulled off the three for one trade with Boston, ending Ritchey’s time in Pittsburgh. In seven seasons in the Steel City he played 977 games, hitting .277 with 420 RBI’s, 420 runs scored and a 362 to 172 BB/K ratio. Claude had been ranked the best second baseman in team history well into the 1960’s when finally passed by Bill Mazeroski for that honor.”

huggins2

2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1905

.292, 0 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-141

Assists as 2B-458 (2nd Time)

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

Double Plays Turned as 2B-62

2nd Time All-Star-In Huggins’ 1905 post, I mentioned he might not be the five-foot-six listed in Baseball Reference, but actually somewhere between five-foot-one and that recorded height. His tininess explains the way Huggins contributed to the sport, through singles and walks. Those he did in abundance. This season, Huggins had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8), ninth in batting (.292), 10th in on-base percentage (.376), and sixth in steals (41).   

Wikipedia notes, “As a player, Huggins was adept at getting on base. He was also an excellent fielding second baseman, earning the nicknames ‘Rabbit’, ‘Little Everywhere’, and ‘Mighty Mite’ for his defensive prowess and was later considered an intelligent manager who understood the fundamentals of the game.

“[Julius] Fleischmann, part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League (NL), kept an eye on Huggins while he played for St. Paul. The Reds duly purchased his contract from the Saints before the 1904 season. He made his MLB debut on April 15, 1904, and proved very adept at getting on base. He batted .264 with the Reds that season and improved in the 1906 season, finishing with a .292 batting average and 41 stolen bases, while spending considerable time developing his upper-body strength.

“In 1915, umpire and sportswriter Billy Evans, writing about the scarcity of competent second basemen in baseball, listed Huggins, Collins, Pratt, Johnny Evers, and Nap Lajoie as the best in the game. He later wrote that Huggins was ‘one of the greatest managers I have ever met’. Bill James ranked Huggins as the 37th best second baseman of all time in 2001 in his The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.”

strang2

2B-Sammy Strang, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1902

.319, 4 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.423

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, the career that could have been had Strang been able to stay healthy. This season, he had only 313 at-bats, but still made the All-Star team. He has his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.3), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0), fourth in batting (.319), first in on-base percentage (.423), third in slugging (.435), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (165). It was an amazing season, more so because of the lack of playing time of Strang and also because of the light-hitting era in which he played.

This season was Strang’s last hurrah, as he played utility with the Giants in 1907, but his numbers dropped significantly and then finished playing 28 games for New York in 1908.

SABR relates an amusing story from this season, “On August 6, 1906, Umpire Jim Johnstone ejected McGraw from a home game against the visiting Cubs. The next day the irate McGraw instructed stadium personnel to deny Johnstone entry to the stadium. The impish Strang stepped onto the field and declared himself the substitute umpire. The Cubs refused to take the field, so Strang announced ‘in a melodramatic manner’ that the game was forfeited to the Giants. Outside the stadium, Johnstone declared the game forfeited to the Cubs. NL President Harry Pulliam, of course, sided with Johnstone. In a letter to Pulliam, Strang implausibly argued that he had acted within baseball rules. Pulliam responded by scolding Strang for his impertinence. ‘I am at a loss to understand how you, being a member of the New York club, should address such a communication to me,’ wrote Pulliam.”

evers2

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 24 Years Old

1904

.255, 1 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-153

Putouts as 2B-344 (2nd Time)

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

2nd Time All-Star-Of the four NL All-Star second basemen, Evers is the most famous of the quartet. He’s the only one of them to make the Hall of Fame as a player. (Miller Huggins made it as a manager). Evers is also young as this point, having made two of these lists at the age of 24. It’s why he has a pretty good chance of making my Hall of Fame.

This season, Evers finished fourth in Defensive WAR (1.8) and fifth in steals (49). In the World Series loss to the White Sox, the second baseman struggled, going three-for-20 (.150) with a double. He’d recover and end up being one of the great World Series hitters of all time.

SABR says, “An excellent bunter, accomplished base stealer, and pesky left-handed hitter who usually had the National League’s best walk-to-strikeout ratio after his first few seasons in the big leagues, Johnny Evers was considered one of the Deadball Era’s smartest and best all-around players. He was just as well known for his fiery disposition. The star second baseman’s nickname, ‘The Human Crab,’ was originally bestowed on him due to his unorthodox manner of sidling over to ground balls before gobbling them up, but most baseball men considered it better suited to his temperament than his fielding. A 5’9″, 125-pound pepper-pot with a protruding jaw that came to be a symbol of the man – for he was always ‘jawing’ about something – Evers developed a reputation as a troublemaker by squabbling regularly with teammates, opponents, and especially umpires. ‘They claim he is a crab, and perhaps they are right,’ Cleveland Indians manager Joe Birmingham once observed. ‘But I would like to have 25 such crabs playing for me. If I did, I would have no doubts over the pennant. They would win hands down.’”

devlina3

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1904 1905

.299, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-355 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Devlin made his third straight All-Star team and would have a decent career going forward, but he’d never have a season like his 1906 campaign again. He finished third in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), third in Offensive WAR (6.3), second in Defensive WAR (2.4), eighth in batting (.299), fifth in on-base percentage (.396), third in steals (54), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). If the six-foot Devlin could have added power to his game, he would have been one of the best of all time. As it is, he didn’t make Cooperstown and most likely won’t make my Hall of Fame.

SABR says of his year, “Devlin had his best season in 1906, on and off the field. He hit a career-high .299, drove in 65 runs, drew a personal-best 74 walks, and stole 54 bases. His efforts were in vain as many Giants fell to injuries and illness-and the Cubs won 116 games, leaving everybody in their wake.

“Besides fielding everything that came his way, Devlin snagged a bride-Ilma Wilk, whom he had met during his Georgetown days and who was the daughter of Frederick L. Wilk, vice-president of the Union Trust Company of Chicago. They were married Thanksgiving Day (November 29). One paper, avoiding gushiness, announced: ‘RICH BRIDE FOR PLAYER.’ The secondary lines specified: ‘Devlin, of New York Giants, to Wed Wealthy Chicago Girl.’”  Remember in the old days when we had newspapers? Nowadays he would’ve been trolled mercilessly on Twitter. Things haven’t changed.

steinfeldt2

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903

.327, 3 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-176

Runs Batted In-83

Def. Games as 3B-150

Fielding % as 3B-.954

2nd Time All-Star-How did Chicago have such a record-breaking season? How did the Cubbies win 116 games? They don’t have a bunch of great players, but they did have a bunch of good players having great years. Such was the case with Steinfeldt, who had his best season ever. Before the season, he was Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Jimmy Sebring to the Chicago Cubs for Jake Weimer. During the year, Steinfeldt finished sixth in WAR (7.0), fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0), second in Offensive WAR (6.4), third in Defensive WAR (2.5), second in batting (.327), sixth in on-base percentage (.395), fourth in slugging (.430), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). Weimer had an All-Star season, but I’m not sure it was worth Steinfeldt. He slumped, like so many other teammates, in the World Series, going five-for-20 with a double.

SABR wraps up the season, saying, “The trade proved to be the turning point in Steinfeldt’s career. Earlier that off-season the Cubs had sent their regular third baseman, Doc Casey, to Brooklyn in the blockbuster trade for Jimmy Sheckard. ‘The addition of these two stars [Steinfeldt and Sheckard] made the Cubs the greatest baseball machine in the country,’ wrote one reporter. Putting up the best numbers of his career, Steinfeldt batted .327, second in the National League, and led the NL with 176 hits and 83 RBIs. He also led NL third basemen with a .954 fielding percentage, a statistic in which he led the league in three of his five seasons in Chicago, earning a reputation as the greatest fielding third sacker in the game.”

wagner8

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old, 1906 ONEHOF Inductee

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905

.339, 2 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1906 NL Batting Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.3 (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-9.3 (6th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.2 (6th Time)

Batting Average-.339 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.875 (4th Time)

Runs Scored-103 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-237 (3rd Time)

Doubles-38 (4th Time)

Runs Created-96 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-45 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1 (3rd Time)

Times on Base-243

Offensive Win %-.824 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-57 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-As if Wagner hasn’t already accomplished enough in his career, this year he makes the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, in which only one player is inducted per year into the Hall. He is the third consecutive shortstop to be inducted.I’m surprised it took him this long, what was I thinking? The nominees for the ONEHOF for next season are Hardy Richardson, Bobby Wallace, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Jimmy Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Elmer Flick.

I like reading articles of Wagner’s form on the field. This is from SABR, which says, “Honus was deceptive on the bases, too. He didn’t look fast, but he stole over 700 bases and legged out almost 900 doubles and triples. His speed got him the nickname ‘The Flying Dutchman.’ In baseball, as in the worlds of myth and legend, titles and nicknames are earned. (The direct albeit coincidental allusion to the myth and Richard Wagner’s opera of the same name didn’t hurt, either.) Wagner’s form as seen in early film was distinctive as he tore around the bases with his arms whirling like a berserk freestyle swimmer. Honus thought the arm motion gave him speed, and he got results.”

Unlike basketball, having the greatest player in the game doesn’t ensure a title. Ask Mike Trout. The Cubs won the pennant because they had a great balance of pitching and hitting and would continue to win the National League for many years. But that doesn’t take away from what the great Wagner did.

tinker2

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Cubs, 25 Years Old

1902

.233, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.6 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.944

2nd Time All-Star-It should be no surprise in the year the Cubs set a Major League record with 116 wins Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, the famous trio from Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, all made the All-Star team. Tinker finished first in Defensive WAR (3.6) as it was his defense that put him here. His hitting would eventually come around, but his glove was outstanding enough to carry him. He didn’t hit well in the World Series, going three-for-18 (.167) with no extra base hits and one RBI.

SABR says, “’It is impossible to speak of the great deeds which made the Cubs of 1906 the most formidable team in the history of the game without due mention of their peerless shortstop, Joe Tinker,’ wrote F. C. Lane in Baseball Magazine. ‘The shadow of Hans Wagner has long obscured the deeds of the short-field men, and the great Dutchman will go down in history as the most incomparable shortstop who ever played the game. But it is hardly fair to make comparisons where Wagner is concerned. Admit that he is in a class by himself, a most obvious statement, and then state what is equally obvious, that the head of the shortstop department outside the Flying Dutchman clearly belongs to the Chicago star.’

“His fielding improved dramatically over the next several years, however, and in 1906 he led all NL shortstops with a .944 fielding percentage. Joe went on to lead the league in that category five times, and he also led the NL in range factor four times and double plays twice.”

magee2

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 21 Years Old

1905

.282, 6 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Extra Base Hits-50

2nd Time All-Star-Magee, the outfielder you either loved or hated, made his second consecutive All-Star team. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.6), ninth in slugging (.407), and second in stolen bases (55). He’d be one of the National League’s great power hitters for many years to come. Magee’s yet another player who would’ve thrived playing in a home run era.

SABR says, “Today we would call Sherry Magee a five-tool player: he could hit, run, field, throw, and hit with power. For more than a decade he was the Philadelphia Phillies’ clean-up hitter and greatest offensive star, setting the all-time team record in stolen bases (387) and ranking among the top ten in almost every other category. Magee’s defense was nearly the equal of his offense; sensational catches with his back to home plate were his trademark, and Pirates scout Frank Haller commented that his every throw was ‘on a line and right on target.’

“The next year he was just as good, hitting .282 with 36 doubles, eight triples, and six homers and finishing second in the NL in stolen bases with 55, a modern Phillies record that stood until Juan Samuel swiped 72 in 1984.

“But as he reached stardom, Sherry also developed a reputation as a troublemaker. ‘On the ball field Magee is so fussy most of the time that people who do not know him naturally form the opinion from his actions that he is a born grouch,’ wrote the Philadelphia Times after the 1908 season.”

clarke6

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902 1903

.309, 1 HR, 39 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Triples-13

6th Time All-Star-It has been three years since Cap Clarke made the All-Star team due to injuries and a less than Clarke-like 1905 season. He’s back, however, continuing to be one of the game’s great player-managers. This season, Clarke finished seventh in batting (.309), eighth in slugging (.309), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). As a manager, his team fell from second in 1905 to third this year with a 93-60 season, 23-and-a-half games behind the juggernaut Cubs. They had the league’s best pitcher, Vic Willis, and the league’s best hitter, Honus Wagner, but it wasn’t enough to win the league.

At Baseball History Daily, Wagner has much to say about his teammates and manager. It reads, “Wagner was also quick to credit his teammates: ‘I think the big reason for Pittsburgh’s success has been first that we’ve played together a long time and know each other and second, and greater, that every man is there to win for the team, no matter what he may do himself.  Last year (George) Gibson caught the greatest ball of any catcher living, and he enabled all the rest of us to play team ball all the time because he was in the team work every minute.  Besides (Fred) Clarke is the greatest manager in the business and a great leader.  No one knows how good Clarke is until he has played with him.’” The question is how good of manager would have Clarke been without Wagner on the team. That might be true, but how good of player would have Wagner been without Clarke as his skipper.

seymour5

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds/New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1899 1903 1904 1905

.286, 8 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-After his incredible 1905 season, it was inevitable the 33-year-old outfielder would settle down to his norm, and he did. Still, I wouldn’t have predicted an All-Star pick for this season, but Seymour continued to be the best of the non-Ruthian pitchers switching to hitters players. He started with Cincinnati, where he’d been since 1902, and wasn’t playing well, leading to him being purchased by the New York Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for $12,000. Once he got to New York, his hitting came back. For the Reds, he slashed .257/.317/.332 for an OPS+ of 99 and for the Giants he slashed .320/.365/.431 for an OPS+ of 146. Altogether, Seymour finished ninth in batting (.286).

Wikipedia says, “The Giants purchased Seymour from the Reds on July 12, 1906 for $10,000 ($266,556 in current dollar terms), the largest monetary transaction in baseball to date. Seymour attempted to hold out from the Giants in order to obtain a portion of this transfer fee, claiming that Herrmann had promised him this money if the sale was completed. McGraw convinced Seymour not to hold out, which could have set a precedent for players obtaining money in player transactions. He batted .286 in 1906 for the Reds and Giants, finishing eighth in the NL.

“Seymour was declared physically unfit for service in World War I. However, he worked in wartime jobs in the Speedway shipyards and Bush terminal. While working in the shipyards, he contracted tuberculosis, and died at his home on September 20, 1919. He was interred in Albany Rural Cemetery.”

lumley

RF-Harry Lumley, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

.324, 9 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.477

Adjusted OPS+-179

Power-Speed #-14.3 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Harry Garfield “Judge” Lumley was born on September 29, 1880 in Forest City, PA. The five-foot-10 183 pound rightfielder had an interesting but short career, playing all seven of his seasons with Brooklyn from 1904-10. He could hit from the get-go, leading the National League in triples and homers in 1904 and this season, Lumley’s best ever, he finished ninth in WAR (6.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.9), third in batting (.324), eighth in on-base percentage (.386), first in slugging (.477), eighth in steals (35), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (179).

Patsy Donovan took over coaching the Superbas this season and helped them improve from eighth to fifth with a 66-86 record. Their hitting was decent enough, but they had absolutely no pitching. That’s surprising for a team with a reputation for great pitching, but that’s much later in its history.

                SABR says, “Injuries combined with a “tendency to embonpoint,” as one reporter described Lumley’s proclivity for gaining weight, caused the hard-hitting outfielder’s career to go steadily downhill after 1906. In 1907 he broke an ankle while sliding, ending his season after playing only 127 games. His nine home runs to that point were enough to rank second again in the N.L., and his .425 slugging percentage was the circuit’s third-best, but his batting average plummeted 57 points to .267.

“Lumley participated in an old-timers’ day at Ebbets Field in 1936 but failing health forced him to give up his restaurant the following year. A widower who never had any children, Harry Lumley died in Binghamton on May 22, 1938.”

1905 American League All-Star Team

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Ed Killian, DET

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Howell, SLB

P-Jesse Tannehill, BOS

P-Addie Joss, CLE

P-Al Orth, NYY

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Tom Hughes, WSH

C-Ed McFarland, CHW

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

1B-Jiggs Donahue, CHW

2B-Danny Murphy, PHA

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-George Stone, SLB

LF-Topsy Hartsel, PHA

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Socks Seybold, PHA

 

waddell4

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

27-10, 1.48 ERA, 287 K, .172, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1905 AL Triple Crown

1905 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-9.2 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.2 (3rd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.48 (2nd Time)

Wins-27

Win-Loss %-.730

Hits per 9 IP-6.326 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.859 (5th Time)

Games Pitched-46

Strikeouts-287 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-179 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.6

Def. Games as P-46

Errors Committed as P-15

4th Time All-Star-It was another great year for George Edward Waddell, as he continued to mow down American League batters. He finished first in WAR (9.2), first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2), first in Earned Run Average (1.48), fourth in innings pitched (328 2/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (179).

This season led the Athletics to the league crown and the World Series. Connie Mack guided Philadelphia to a 92-56 record, beating out the White Sox by two games. Led by Harry Davis, it had the best hitting in the league and also great pitching, led by you-know-who. It was the Athletics’ and Waddell’s second American League title.

SABR’s Steven A. King wrote an article on Waddell missing most of the last month of the season and the World Series. Controversy brews about whether he injured his shoulder or was bribed to sit out. The official story from the article is, “A story has been told about a bit of horseplay when Waddell tried to destroy the straw hat worn by Philadelphia Athletics teammate Andy Coakley at the train station in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 8, 1905, resulting in Rube injuring his shoulder, causing him to miss most of the last month of the regular season, and the whole World Series versus the New York Giants.

“Whether Waddell was actually injured as he claimed, or was bribed to fake an injury, has remained at the core of the controversy. Biographies of Waddell and Connie Mack, his manager, have described it, and it has even been the subject of a mock trial staged at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. A majority of those who voted on the verdict in this trial acquitted Waddell of the charge of bribery and faking the injury and most writers on the subject have generally taken a similarly sympathetic view.” It’s a long, long article, but take some time and read the whole thing.

killian

P-Ed Killian, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

23-14, 2.27 ERA, 110 K, .271, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Edwin Henry “Twilight Ed” Killian was born on November 12, 1876 in Racine, WI. The five-foot-11, 170 pound pitcher started with Cleveland in 1903. Before the next season, he was traded by the Cleveland Naps with Jesse Stovall to the Detroit Tigers for Billy Lush. He could have easily made the All-Star team in 1904, despite a 15-20 record. This season, Killian finished second in WAR (7.9), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.8), eighth in innings pitched (313 1/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (120).

Detroit finished in third place with a 79-74 record. Bill Armour’s team finished 15-and-a-half games out, but the most important thing to happen for the Tigers was the rookie season of an 18-year-old outfielder named Ty Cobb who would be the best player on the team for many years to come.

Bleacher Report says, “His dad, Andrew, was a wheelwright. His mom, Etta, was a German immigrant. As a kid, Ed was very strong and athletic. He found himself on semi-pro teams early in life. In 1902, at 26, he signed his first professional contract with Rockford of the Three-I League. By the end of the year, he was on the Cleveland Naps and was 3-4 with a 2.48 ERA in eight starts.

“Killian had a typical build for major leaguers during his time, despite being considerably bigger than kids when he was one.” Who knows if Twilight Ed wouldn’t have had a better career if hadn’t started pitching professionally so late in life.

young15P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 38 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

18-19, 1.82 ERA, 210 K, .150, 2 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.867 (6th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.842 (13th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-7.000 (10th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.69 (6th Time)

15th Time All-Star-Back in 1890, Cy Young and Kid Nichols started their Major League careers. Cyclone was 23 years old and pitched just 17 games for Cleveland, while the Kid started at 20-years-old, won 27 games and made his first All-Star team. Both of them would continue mowing down hitters through the ‘90s and, if you had to guess, Nichols would end up with the better career.

However, what no one could know at the time is that Young’s arm was made of a different substance that most human limbs. It kept going and going and Young kept winning and winning. This season, he finished third in WAR (7.6), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.6), third in ERA (1.82), sixth in innings pitched (320 2/3), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (147).

Young, of course, has more All-Star teams than any other pitcher. His 15 is followed by Nichols’ 12.  Here’s the complete list of most All-Star teams made by position:

P- Cy Young (15)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

2B-Cupid Childs, Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee (7)

3B-Jimmy Collins (7)

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

At this point in his career, Young has 423 wins, 68 more than Pud Galvin, who was in second place at the time. He still has two 20-win seasons left and 88 more wins left in his 38-year-old arm. This is his 15th consecutive season with 300 or more innings. In modern baseball, there hasn’t been a pitcher who tossed that amount since Steve Carlton in 1980 or 37 years at the time of this writing.

plank5

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 29 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

24-12, 2.26 ERA, 210 K, .230, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-41 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-35

Hit by Pitch-24 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Is it possible a pitcher with a 326-194 lifetime record was underrated? It was Plank’s fate to pitch in an era of outstanding hurlers. Yet the five-foot-11 lefty held his own and will continue to make All-Star teams for many years. What more could you ask for if you’re Connie Mack but to have a pitcher you could put out every three or four days who would give you great results? It had to be more refreshing than having to deal with the half-crazed Rube Waddell all the time.

This season, Plank finished fourth in WAR (7.3), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), second in Innings pitched (346 2/3), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (117). Also, he pitched in his first World Series, but unfortunately met the juggernaut that was Christy Mathewson and went 0-2 despite his 1.59 ERA.

Wikipedia gives more info on the World Series, saying, “In 1905, Plank made his first trip to the World Series. He faced Christy Mathewson in the first game and Joe McGinnity in the fourth game. Though Plank gave up only three runs in 17 innings during the series, the Athletics lost to the New York Giants in five games and did not score an earned run in the entire series.” SABR states, “Plank’s 1905 performance, in which his teammates scored zero runs for him, foreshadowed his fate in World Series play, as he would often pitch just brilliantly enough to lose in heartbreaking fashion.” He would eventually win a championship, so don’t weep for him too much.

howell3

P-Harry Howell, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1901 1904

15-22, 1.98 ERA, 198 K, .193, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hsll of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-35

Assists as P-178

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-5.54

3rd Time All-Star-Howell continued to show great skill for a bad team and also perfectly display the limitations of the won-loss record. This season, Howell finished sixth in WAR (6.6), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), sixth in ERA (1.98), fifth in innings pitched (323), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (129).

As for the Browns, Jimmy McAleer coached them to their worst season thus far, a last place 54-99 record. They had the second worst hitting in the league as gauged by OPS+ and the third worst ERA+. What do they say about teams that can’t hit or pitch? Oh yeah, they stink.

SABR says, “The spitter became both a source of Howell’s success and also a contributing factor in his failures. An enthusiastic proponent of the spitball, Howell, according to one report, ‘simply loves to throw the “spitter” and tries his hardest to retire every batter on strikes. When pitching, Howell always has a mouth full of slippery elm and he simply covers the ball with saliva. When Howell is pitching, the infielders always complain about handling the ball.’ The infielders’ difficulty may have contributed to his uneven record, as Howell typically gave up more unearned runs than the average Browns pitcher. In 1905, for example, when Howell went 15-22 despite a 1.98 ERA, he surrendered 38 unearned runs, 35 percent of his total runs allowed. The league average that year was 29 percent, a figure in line with the rest of the St. Louis pitching staff.” I hope St. Louis didn’t have any germophobic infielders.

tannehill4P-Jesse Tannehill, Boston Americans, 30 Years Old

1898 1899 1904

22-9, 2.48 ERA, 113 K, .226, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Tannehill had another good year, but this is probably his last All-Star team. This season, Powder finished seventh in WAR (6.4) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5). At this point in his career, Tannehill is 175-94 and looks like he should easily wind up with 200 wins. Spoiler alert, he didn’t. He started declining in 1906, but remained with Boston until 1908, when he was moved midseason to the Senators. He pitched for Washington in 1909 and then didn’t pitch in the majors in 1910. He finished his career pitching one game for the Reds in 1911, giving up seven runs in four-and-a-third innings. Tannehill ended up finishing three wins short of 200.

Wikipedia says, “After retiring as a player, Tannehill managed the Portsmouth Truckers of the Virginia League in 1914. He then served as an umpire in the Ohio State LeagueInternational League, and Western League, before returning to the Majors as a coach for the Philadelphia Philliesin 1920, a stint that lasted one season. In 1923 he managed the Topeka Kaws in the Southwestern League.

“In his later years, Tannehill worked in a Cincinnati machine shop and was a frequent visitor to Crosley Field, the home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 to 1970. He died of a stroke at Speers Hospital in Dayton, Campbell County, Kentucky on September 22, 1956.” Tannehill did get a smidgen of Hall of Fame consideration which is fair because when he was good, he was really good. He could have easily made another All-Star team, which would give him five, which puts a player right on that line of being in or out of Cooperstown.

joss

P-Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

20-12, 2.01 ERA, 132 K, .134, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Adrian “Addie” Joss was born on April 12, 1880 in Woodland, WI. He was tall for his day at six-foot three and weighed in at 185 pounds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1978 and I’m okay with it. He could have easily made the All-Star team in 1903 when he went 18-13 with a 2.19 ERA or in 1904 when he went 14-10 with a league-leading 1.59 ERA. That would give him three All-Star teams at this point in his career and he would easily make the seven required for him to make my Hall of Fame. However, those things didn’t happen and his career was short, nine seasons, so it’s a toss-up.

Joss actually started for Cleveland in 1902 and would remain with it his whole career, through 1910. This season, he finished eighth in WAR (5.9), seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), seventh in ERA (2.01), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (130). He’s got better seasons to come.

Wikipedia says, “Joss’s repertoire included a fastball, a ‘slow ball’ (today known as a changeup), and an ‘extremely effective’ curve. Baseball historians Rob Neyer and Bill James ranked Joss’ fastball third (1900–1904) and sixth (1905–1909) in the major leagues. George Moriarty explained that Joss had only one curveball because ‘he believed that with a few well mastered deliveries he could acquire great control and success with less strain on his arm.’  In an era filled with spitball pitchers, Joss achieved his success without ever altering the baseball. Joss threw with a corkscrew windup motion, described as ‘an exaggerated pinwheel motion.’ Shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh described his windup: ‘He would turn his back toward the batter as he wound up, hiding the ball all the while, and then whip around and fire it in.’”

orth2

P-Al Orth, New York Highlanders, 32 Years Old

1901

18-16, 2.86 ERA, 121 K, .183, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team for the Phillies in 1901, Orth jumped to the Senators in 1902 and pitched for them until 1904, when he was traded mid-season to the Highlanders. He and Jack Chesbro made a lethal combo this season as Orth finished 10th in WAR (5.9), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), and 10th in innings pitched (305 1/3).

Led by Clark Griffith, the Highlanders finished in sixth place in the American League with a 71-78 record, dropping from second in 1904. They finished third to last in OPS+ and third in ERA+, getting good pitching from Orth and Chesbro. However, they didn’t 41 wins out of Chesbro this season and it showed.

Orth was a two-way player. According to Wikipedia, “Orth was also known for his hitting skills, finishing seventh all-time among pitchers in hits, with .389. Orth would frequently hit above .300. The left-handed hitter was used as a pinch hitter 78 times and even played the field on a few occasions, including fifty-five games as an outfielder and eight at shortstop during his time with the Washington Senators.”

From SABR: “Shortly after his arrival with the Highlanders, Orth turned his season around, helping to keep New York in the pennant race until the last day of the season with an 11-6 record and league-average 2.68 ERA. Orth’s turnaround was probably due in part to teammate Jack Chesbro, who rode the spitball to a 41-win season that year. Orth himself said he first used the spitball at the end of the 1904 season and considered the pitch ‘more effective than a curve’ with a ‘quicker break.’ Orth threw it ‘regularly’ in the 1905 season, as he posted an 18-16 record with a 2.86 ERA for the sixth place Highlanders.”

chesbro5

P-Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, 31 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

19-15, 2.20 ERA, 156 K, .188, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-It’s worth asking the question of whether it was worth it to future of the Highlanders to pitch Chesbro 454 innings in 1904, despite his incredible results. He’s probably got one more All-Star team after this season and then would fade quickly. How many pitches does a Major League’s pitcher have in it anyway? Just don’t include Cy Young in that equation, because he’s a freak. Happy Jack has now made five All-Star teams in a row, but Young is up to 15 in a row and isn’t done yet. Cyclone should have his own Hall of Fame.

Led by his spitball, Chesbro finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), 10th in ERA (2.20), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (133). His problem was he pitched 150 fewer innings than in 1904.

Wikipedia mentions, “Before the 1905 season, Chesbro announced that he had created a pitch he called the ‘jump ball’. He struggled in the 1905 season, registering a 19-15 record. During the 1905 season, Chesbro was involved in the first squeeze play in baseball. At third base, Chesbro mistakenly thought he had received a steal sign from manager Clark Griffith, while Willie Keeler bunted for a hit. As Chesbro scored, Griffith made a note of the play and taught it in spring training the following season.”

It’s not clear how successful Chesbro would be nowadays, with the outlawing of the spitball and new balls being put in play every few pitches. But for his era, Chesbro was one of the best — for a little while.

hughest

P-Tom Hughes, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

17-20, 2.35 ERA, 149 K, .212, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas James “Long Tom” Hughes was born on November 29, 1878 in Chicago, IL. Apparently being six-foot-one and 175 pounds garnered the moniker of “Long” in those days. He started with Chicago in the National League in 1900-01, before moving to the American League in 1902 where he pitched for both Baltimore and Boston. In 1903, he had an outstanding 20-7 record for the Americans in helping them win the first World Series. In the Series, he started one game, lasting only two innings and giving up three runs, two of them earned. The year 1904 found him pitching for both New York and finally Washington, where he will remain for the rest of his career. This season, he made the All-Star team as Washington’s best player, pitching 291 1/3 innings with a 2.35 ERA.

The Senators, coached by Jake Stahl, did move up from eighth to seventh this year with a 68=83 record. They were last in OPS+ and ERA+, but still finished 11 games ahead of the last place Browns.

SABR says, “In 1905, Hughes enjoyed one of his best seasons in Washington, finishing the year with a 2.35 ERA in 291 1/3 innings, though his 17 wins were offset by 20 losses. He pitched six shutouts, five over the same team, the Cleveland Naps. ‘His one ambition this season has been to be the master of that team of heavy-hitters at Cleveland,’ the Washington Post reported. ‘And now that he has succeeded…the baseball world is talking about his achievement. Hughes is regarded by ball players as one of the most skilled pitchers in either big league. They claim he has no superior when he wants to exercise all his pitching talents. But Tom doesn’t always feel that way.’ At season’s end, one Washington paper collected money for a fan testimonial for ‘Long Tom.’ In appreciation for his efforts, the fans presented Hughes with a diamond scarf pin in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.”

mcfarland4

C-Ed McFarland, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1898 1899 1900

.280, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-In McFarland’s 1900 blurb, I wrote, “Catcher is the hardest position in which to predict future All-Star teams. My guess would be McFarland is done making them, but who knows.” It is almost impossible to predict the future for backstops, but in a weak year at the position, McFarland, five years after last making an All-Star team, is back. He slashed .280/.345/.364 for an OPS+ of 129 in 80 games, which isn’t bad at all for a catcher. Okay, NOW he’s done making All-Star teams.

McFarland will, however, be a part of the White Sox 1906 pennant-winning team and actually get one at bat in the World Series. He grounded out to third. Hey, have you played in the World Series? Then don’t judge!

Of his later life, SABR says, “After baseball McFarland became, according to a nephew, a landlord. He apparently didn’t keep up with former teammates or others in baseball; National League President Ford Frick at one point issued an appeal to the public to locate a couple of dozen major leaguers – including McFarland – with whom the league had lost touch. In 1942, in the year he turned 69, McFarland married Zelda Palmer.

“McFarland had to have had a strong constitution, since he lived to the age of 86. In November 1959 he suffered a fall that broke his pelvis, and after undergoing treatment at Cleveland’s Huron Road Hospital, McFarland died on November 28.” That’s an incredibly long life for someone who struggled with drinking throughout his Major League career.

schrecongost3

C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

1899 1903

.271, 0 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-114

Putouts as C-790 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-11

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-8.19 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-7.94 (4th Time)

Fielding % as C-.984

3rd Time All-Star-Schrecongost may have had his best season ever this year, finishing sixth in Defensive WAR (1.3). He’s most famous for being Rube Waddell’s catcher, but he was a fine player on his own. In the World Series, Shrek (yes!) went two for nine with a double. His .222 average in the Series was below only Topsy Hartsel’s .235. The team, as a whole, hit only .155 against the tough Giants’ staff. How many players can say they doubled off the amazing Christy Mathewson in a World Series. Shrek can!

Of his 1905 year, SABR states, “Osee’s 1905 season got off to a halting start. He missed most of spring training, with his father dying and then, not long after he returned to camp, his sister, Annie, died and he had to go back home once more.

“Things turned around in 1905. Schreck hit .271, drove in 45 runs, improved his fielding percentage to .984 in 123 games, and helped roommate Waddell post a 27-10 record with an ERA of 1.48 (leading the league in wins and ERA), and helping boost the Athletics from 1904’s fifth place to the pennant. He set a record, catching 29 innings in one day, on July 4, 1905, in Boston. This year was his worst one, though, for working bases on balls. He came to the plate 429 times and walked just three times.” You should read the whole SABR article for a comprehensive look at the relationship between Waddell and Schrecongost. It’s very amusing!

davish2

1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1904

.285, 8 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-93

Doubles-47 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-8 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-83

Extra Base Hits-61

Power-Speed #-13.1 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-75.9 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-150

2nd Time All-Star-Oh, if Davis could have been born in a time when homers really mattered, he’d be all over the Hall of Fame. He led the American League in homers for the second straight season while also finishing ninth in WAR (5.9), second in WAR Position Players (5.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), eighth in batting (.285), fourth in slugging (.422), fifth in steals (36), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (137). Davis also helped the Athletics make the World Series where he went four-for-20 with a double in a losing cause.

SABR says, “Long before Babe Ruth revolutionized the game with the home run, during a period when hitting a baseball was likened by some to swatting a cabbage, Harry Davis was one of the country’s most feared sluggers. Known today primarily for leading the American League in home runs four consecutive seasons, the right-handed Davis was as apt to win games with his brains as he was with his bat. Hand picked by Connie Mack, he was the heart and soul of the early Philadelphia Athletics teams who dominated the newly formed A.L., winning six titles and three World Series. Davis really had two separate major league careers: one before 1900 and the other after; one as an itinerant player without a steady team or position, the other as the cornerstone of a dynasty. He was credited with being ‘at least 25 per cent of the brains of the Philadelphia American League baseball club.’ Over a career that spanned more than thirty years as a player, coach, manager and scout, Harry Davis was one of the most respected and admired figures in baseball.”

donahuej

1B-Jiggs Donahue, Chicago White Sox, 25 Years Old

.287, 1 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,645

Putouts as 1B-1,645

Assists as 1B-114

Double Plays Turned as 1B-77

Fielding % as 1B-.988

1st Time All-Star-John Augustus “Jiggs” Donahue was born on July 13, 1879 in Springfield, OH. The six-foot-one, 178 pound first baseman received his nickname as a youngster, according to SABR, which says, “As a young teen John worked at a cigar store in the downtown arcade. Never one to stay indoors, when the store wasn’t busy he stepped outside and did dance steps. Customers started calling him Jiggers, after the Chigoe flea, or jigger. The nickname was later shortened to Jiggs.”

Donahue started in 1900 playing three games for Pittsburgh and then played two games for the Pirates in 1901, before jumping to the American League and becoming a full-time catcher for Milwaukee, which then became the Browns in 1902. After a year off, he came to Chicago in 1904, now being moved to first base, a position at which he was a natural. This season, Jiggs finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0), seventh in batting (.287), ninth in on-base percentage (.346), and eighth in steals (32). It was his best season ever.

Wikipedia says, “Donahue had his greatest success from 1904 to 1908, after switching to first base for the Chicago White Sox. Donahue’s defensive skills were a key to the White Sox’ 1906 World Series championship team, and he led American League first basemen in fielding percentage, assists, and putouts for 3 consecutive seasons, from 1905 to 1907. In 1907, Donahue had 1,846 putouts, which is still the major league record for putouts by a first baseman. He also holds the major league single season record for most chances accepted per game with 12.65 in 1907.”

murphy2

2B-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1904

.277, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-151

2nd Time All-Star-With an injury besetting Nap Lajoie, Murphy became the top second baseman in the American League, at least for one season. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4), 10th in slugging (.389), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (128). In the World Series, Murph struggled, as did most of the Athletics, going three-for-16 with a double, as the A’s lost to the Giants, 4-1. Or as SABR recaps it, “Philadelphia made its first World Series appearance in 1905 as Murphy smacked 42 extra base hits and tied for third in the AL with six home runs. The smart little second sacker batted .277 during the season, but collected just three hits in 16 at-bats as the Mackmen were blanked three times by Danny’s old Giants teammate, Christy Mathewson.” In the Series, Murphy also committed four errors.

The fact that Murphy’s .389 slugging percentage ended up in the top 10 in the American League shows how low run production was during this Deadball Era of baseball. Teams in the Junior Circuit averaged just 3.68 runs per game and almost 30 percent of those were unearned. It was a time of banjo hitting, sacrifice bunting, and shutdown pitching. The AL started in 1901 averaging 5.35 runs per game, but it continued to drop. By 1908 and 1909, runs scored per game will be at their lowest ever, 3.44. At least until 1968. I’ve always liked the Earl Weaver three-run homer strategy and that’s what it looks like nowadays in 2017, but I do have nostalgia for bunting, hit-and-running, and steals.

bradleyb4

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1902 1903 1904

.268, 0 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-190 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-17 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.945 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-When considering the low-scoring era in which he toiled, there weren’t too many stretches matching Bradley’s play in the early 1900s. This season, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0) and third in Defensive WAR (1.7), His hitting, which was sensational the past few years, started to decline in 1905 and would never get back to where it was. It was the beginning of the end for the great third baseman.

Bradley also took over the managerial reins for Nap Lajoie late in the year. After Lajoie coached the team to a 56-57 record, the third baseman managed Cleveland to a 20-21 record the rest of the season. The Naps dropped from fourth to fifth place with a 76-78 record.

SABR says, “But things began to unravel for Bradley during the 1905 season, when he was diagnosed with ‘autotoxicity’, a stomach ailment. Weakened by the illness, Bradley’s batting average plummeted to .268, and for the first time in his career he failed to hit a single home run.

“Even his personal life had taken a turn toward the macabre. In November, 1905, a 36-year-old book agent, Christian Schlather, entered the Bradley home, fondled Bradley’s 14-year-old sister, Alice, and threatened to kill her if she would not elope with him. When she met the man later, Bill jumped out and thoroughly thrashed Schlather, who was later convicted of intoxication, carrying concealed weapons, and assault and battery. The would-be kidnapper and rapist was almost lynched by a hostile crowd of Bradley supporters before police arrived.”

collins7

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 35 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903 1904

.276, 4 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

7th Time All-Star-I sometimes wonder if we appreciate when we’re watching the all-time greats. Of course, I’m sure the Boston fans had great appreciation for the career of Cy Young, but did they realize they were watching one of the great third basemen of all time. This has a good chance of being his last All-Star team, but Collins shined for a long time at a tough position and most of this while also managing the team. Look at Cy Young’s blurb to see the list of leaders by position in All-Star teams made.

Collins finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.0) and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.1). As a manager, his team dropped from first to fourth as the Americans finished with a 78-74 record.

After this season, Collins would remain with Boston until 1907 when he was traded to Philadelphia. He would finish as a player for the Athletics in 1908. Despite a lifetime 455-376 as a manager for Boston from 1901-06, he’d never manage again. As a hitter, he’d finish his career with a lifetime 53.2 WAR, a .294 average, 65 homers and 983 runs batted in. His stats would seem more impressive had he played in almost any other era of baseball.

Wikipedia states, “When Collins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, he was the first to be chosen primarily as a third baseman. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. Collins became a charter member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

“Jimmy Collins married Sarah Murphy in 1907, and the couple had two daughters. After his retirement from baseball, they moved back to Buffalo, where Collins worked for the Buffalo Parks Department. Collins died of pneumonia on March 6, 1943 at the age of 73.”

davis9SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 34 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902 1904

.278, 1 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.2

Defensive WAR-2.8 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-56 (4th Time)

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

9th Time All-Star-Back in the 1800s, Jack Glasscock dominated at the shortstop position. He had the misfortune of not playing on any winning teams and didn’t get the recognition due. He’s still not in the Hall of Fame. Having the difficult task of comparing different eras, I’d give Glasscock the nod over Davis, but Davis is a great one to be sure. He’s not Honus Wagner, but who is? It’s like saying the great pitchers are not Cy Young. Well, of course they aren’t, because no one is. There’s a reason the best pitcher wins the Cy Young Award and not the Jack Chesbro Award.

This season, Davis had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.2), first in WAR Position Players (7.2), second in Offensive WAR (5.5), first in Defensive WAR (2.8), 10th in batting (.278), sixth in on-base percentage (.353), and ninth in steals (31). Just an outstanding overall season, all at the age of 34.

SABR’s overall synopsis of Davis’ career says, “Known as ‘Gorgeous George’ for his graceful play and blond locks, George Davis established himself as one of the game’s most well-rounded players during his 20 seasons in the major leagues. At the plate, the switch-hitting Davis was a model of consistency, batting better than .300 every year from 1893 to 1901. In the field, the shortstop was steady and reliable, leading his league in fielding percentage four times. On the basepaths, the 5’9″, 180-pounder was a constant threat, swiping 619 bases in his career, the third most ever by a player whose primary position was shortstop, behind Honus Wagner and Bert Campaneris. John McGraw described Davis as ‘an exceptionally quick thinker,’ a reputation which led to Davis spending time as the manager of the New York Giants. Yet despite his many achievements, Davis vanished from sight after his career ended and died in obscurity.”

wallace7

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 31 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903 1904

.271, 1 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

Def. Games as SS-156

7th Time All-Star-Did the baseball fans of this era realize they were watching four of the greatest shortstops of all time? They got to watch the powerful Honus Wagner, who couldn’t field as well as the next three, but was the best of them all. Then there was George Davis, whose hitting prowess was dimmed by playing in the Deadball Era, but still great with the bat and the glove. Bill Dahlen, the only of these four who isn’t in Cooperstown, though he is in my Hall of Fame, was steady at the position year after year. Finally, there’s Wallace, playing every game for terrible teams for basically his entire career. He was the wizard with the glove at a time that was rare in baseball.

This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2), third in Offensive WAR (5.1), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.3). He’s got a good shot at making the ONEHOF in the next couple years.

SABR says, “During his prime years with the Browns, Bobby was a fearsome hitter; though his batting average never surpassed .285 during his 15-year stay with the club, Wallace at various times ranked among AL leaders in hits, walks, total bases, doubles, triples, and slugging percentage. He was also almost annually among the RBI leaders, ranking in the top ten during eight out of 12 seasons from 1897-1908.” There have definitely been many shortstops over the history of baseball who fit the no-hit, all-glove stereotype, but Wallace isn’t one of them. He could do both equally well.

stone

LF-George Stone, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

.296, 7 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

At Bats-632

Plate Appearances-691

Hits-187

Total Bases-259

Runs Created-89

Def. Games as OF-154

1st Time All-Star-George Robert Stone was born on September 3, 1876 in Lost Nation, IA. (That’s an awesome name for a town.) Stone started with the Boston Americans in 1903, playing two games and having only two at bats. He struck out both times. He didn’t play in 1904, but became the starting leftfielder with the Browns this season and Stone lit it up from the very beginning. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.8), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), sixth in batting (.296), eighth in on-base percentage (.347), fifth in slugging (.410), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

SABR says of his stance, “Stone’s batting style was the subject of considerable fanfare. ‘When [Stone] first joined the Browns he was let go by Boston because Jimmy Collins did not like his style and considered him a doubtful batter owing to it,’ The Sporting News remarked in 1906. ‘Stone crouched down over the plate, with his bat tight against his shoulder, took two steps and soaked the ball for all he was worth…His explanation of the advantages of the crouch is that it gets the eyes in a better position to follow the ball, as they are almost on a direct line with any delivery that comes over the plate. Secondly, the crouch sets the muscles so that a quick chop can be taken at the ball instead of the longer swing employed by most players. As a matter of fact, Stone can and does hit the ball with terrific force, when it looks as though he is going to let it pass without attempting to hit it, so close is the leather to him before he starts his stroke.’”

hartsel2

LF-Topsy Hartsel, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

1901

.275, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.409

Bases on Balls-121 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-270

2nd Time All-Star-Hartsel made the National League All-Star team in 1901 for the Orphans, then jumped to the American League Athletics after the season. He played well from 1902-04, just not good enough to make the All-Star team, despite leading the AL in steals and walks in 1902. This season, Hartsel finished seventh in Offensive WAR (4.7), first in on-base percentage (.409), fourth in steals (37), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). In the World Series, Topsy topped Philadelphia in batting average, hitting .235 (four-for-17) with one double and two steals.

SABR says, “Standing just 5’5″ and a stocky 169 pounds, Topsy Hartsel used his small size to become the most effective leadoff batter of the Deadball Era. During his 10 seasons with the Athletics, Hartsel led the American League in walks five times, on base percentage twice, and runs scored once. His 121 free passes in 1905 remained the American League record until Babe Ruth shattered it in 1920. Batting at the top of Connie Mack’s order and playing a solid left field, he set the table for some of the era’s best teams as his Philadelphia Athletics won four pennants during his ten year tenure with the club. The Sporting News said on reporting his death in 1944, ‘Though never an outstanding batsman, Hartsel, who was only five feet five inches tall, was one of the game’s greatest leadoff men. He was a lefthanded hitter, very fast, with an uncanny eye at the bat. And once he got on base he was a difficult man to stop.’”

jonesf3CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old

1901 1902

.245, 2 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Though I say Jones has a 75 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame, the truth is he’s not going to. It would have helped if he made the All-Star team in either 1903 or 1904. As a matter of fact, if he would have made either of those teams, he’d most definitely be in my Hall of Fame. That was Fielder’s problem. He had five full-time seasons before he made his first All-Star team at the age of 29 and then had a couple more seasons in his prime that weren’t among the league’s very best.

This season, Jones finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9) and  eighth in Defensive WAR (1.2). (Hey, he really is living up to this name!) He also managed the White Sox, who moved up from third to second. Chicago played to a 92-60 record as George Davis helped it finish third in OPS+ and first in ERA+ (124), despite not having any All-Star pitchers. Next year, fielding and pitching will lead the team to a World Series title and give them the nickname, “Hitless Wonders.”

SABR states the same thing, saying, “The White Sox moved up to second place in 1905, just two games behind Philadelphia. The pitching staff was the best in the AL and the team was second in runs scored. The Sox weren’t eliminated from the race until they dropped two of three to the Athletics late in September. According to STATS, Jones’ squad won 10 more games than expected.”

crawford4

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 25 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

.297, 6 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as OF-.988

4th Time All-Star-After an off-season in 1904, Crawford is back on the All-Star team and also made my Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Wahoo Sam! This season, he finished third in WAR Position Players (5.3), third in Offensive WAR (5.1), fourth in batting (.297), fourth in on-base percentage (.357), third in slugging (.430), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (148).

Ty Cobb joined the Tigers this season and he and Crawford would be teammates for 13 seasons. Wikipedia has much to say about the relationship of these two superstars, stating, “Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb were teammates for parts of 13 seasons. They played beside each other in right and center field, and Crawford followed Cobb in the batting order year after year. Despite the physical closeness, the two had a complicated relationship.

“Initially, they had a student-teacher relationship. Crawford was an established star when Cobb arrived, and Cobb eagerly sought his advice. In interviews with Al Stump, Cobb told of studying Crawford’s base-stealing technique and of how Crawford would teach him about pursuing fly balls and throwing out base runners. Cobb told Stump he would always remember Crawford’s kindness.

“The student-teacher relationship gradually changed to one of jealous rivals. Cobb was unpopular with his teammates, and as he became the biggest star in baseball, Crawford was unhappy with the preferential treatment given Cobb. Cobb was allowed to report late for spring training and given private quarters on the road – privileges not offered to Crawford. The competition between the two was intense.”

flick6

RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903 1904

.308, 4 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1905 AL Batting Title

Offensive WAR-5.5

Batting Average-.308

Slugging %-.462

On-Base Plus Slugging-.845

Triples-18

Adjusted OPS+-166

Adj. Batting Runs-38 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.5 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.789

 

6th Time All-Star-In an era with Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, it’s easy to forget about the contributions of Elmer Harrison Flick. Yet there weren’t too many better than this short rightfielder, as he constantly showed his prowess in the American League. This season, his .308 average led the league, which was the lowest figure to lead the AL until Carl Yastrzemski’s .301 in 1968. He also finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3), first in Offensive WAR (5.5), second in on-base percentage (.383), first in slugging (.462), seventh in steals (35), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (166). That .462 slugging is the lowest to ever lead the Junior Circuit.

Flick’s family will also make the journey to Carter Lake, IA, for his Ron’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He made his sixth All-Star team multiplied by his 53.2 career WAR putting him over 300, which is all it takes to make my Hall of Fame. It’s much tougher to make the ONEHOF, which only inducts the one player a year who is the best that is not currently in the One-a-Year Hall of Fame and Flick might make that one, too.

SABR says,Best known as the player who Cleveland would not trade for the young Ty Cobb or as the man who won the American League batting title with the lowest average prior to 1968, Elmer Flick was more than just an answer to a trivia question.  An underrated Hall of Famer whose on-the-field accomplishments are nearly forgotten today, Flick was a hard-hitting, fleet-footed outfielder who had his major league career curtailed by a mysterious gastrointestinal ailment.”

seybold2

RF-Socks Seybold, Philadelphia Athletics, 34 Years Old

1902

.274, 6 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-I’m not sure anyone who played their rookie year at the age of 30 or older ever had a better career than Seybold. This season, he finished seventh in slugging (.402) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). Then, like so many of the Athletics, his bat went silent in the World Series. Seybold was two-for-16 with no extra base hits in the Fall Classic as Philadelphia lost to the Giants, 4-1.

After this season, Seybold would play three more years with the Athletics before retiring after the 1908 season. Altogether, in nine seasons, Seybold had a 24.4 career WAR with a 294 average, 51 homers, and 556 RBI. It doesn’t look great, but he didn’t play fulltime in the Major Leagues until he was 30-years-old.

Wikipedia says of his later life, “At the end of July 1919, Babe Ruth equaled Seybold’s American League record of 16 home runs in a season; Ruth went on to hit 29 homers in 1919.

“Seybold was married but had no children. His wife, Wilhelmina ‘Minnie’ Heitz, died in 1917. In his later years, Seybold was employed as a steward of a social club (Fraternal Order of Eagles) in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. In 1921, Seybold was driving a car when it overturned at a sharp curve on the Lincoln Highway east of Jeanette; he was killed instantly. He left an estate valued at $20,000. Seybold was buried next to his wife at Brush Creek Cemetery in Irwin.” Seybold had a short career and short life, but packed a lot into it.

1905 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Irv Young, BSN

P-Ed Reulbach, CHC

P-Bob Ewing, CIN

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Bob Wicker, CHC

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Orval Overall, CIN

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

C-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

C-Mike Grady, STL

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Dan McGann, NYG

2B-Miller Huggins, CIN

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, NYG

LF-Sherry Magee, PHI

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

CF-Mike Donlin, NYG

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Homer Smoot, STL

RF-John Titus, PHI

 

mathewson5

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1901 1902 1903 1904

31-9, 1.28 ERA, 206 K, .236, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Triple Crown

1905 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.28

Wins-31

Walks & Hits per IP-0.933

Strikeouts-206 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-8 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.219

Adjusted ERA+-230

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.03 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5

Assists as P-116 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-If you think about it, many of baseball’s greatest players have uncouth demeanors. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. Yet that’s not the case with the game’s two greatest pitchers at this time – Cy Young and Mathewson. All the reports on Big Six spoke of his gentlemanly qualities and use him as a model for what a baseball player should be. This season, Mathewson finished second in WAR (10.1), second in WAR for Pitchers (9.1), first in ERA (1.28), third in innings pitched (338 2/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (230). I’m not picking this as his best season, but that’s only because every season Matty pitched, save a couple here and there, was a work of art.

His pitching allowed New York to win the National League pennant for the second straight season and this time, it actually decided to play in the World Series.  The Giants finished 105-48, nine games ahead of Pittsburgh. Their hitting, led by centerfielder Mike Donlin, was the best in the league, while their pitching, led by Mathewson, was right near the top. John McGraw’s squad bested the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-1, and Big Six was the reason why. He started three games and tossed three shutouts. It might be the greatest World Series performance of all time.

Philadelphia’s manager acknowledged Mathewson’s prowess, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame page, which says, “’Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived,’ Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack said. ‘He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch – when he wasn’t pitching against you.’”

youngi

P-Irv Young, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

20-21, 2.90 ERA, 156 K, .103, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 36 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-9.2

Innings Pitched-378

Games Started-42

Complete Games-41

Batters Faced-1,475

1st Time All-Star-Irving Melrose “Young Cy” or “Cy The Second” Young was born on July 21, 1877 in Columbia Falls, ME. This is one of those seasons which makes people question the validity of WAR. According to Baseball Reference WAR, Young’s 20-21, 2.90 ERA season was better than Mathewson’s 31-9, 1.28 ERA, season. Ridiculous! Also, this season is a warning to why it’s dangerous to give nicknames early in a man’s career, because comparing this man to Cy Young is like comparing Andrew Dice Clay to Jerry Seinfeld.

I’m sorry if the above sounds negative, because Young did have a great season, finishing third in WAR (8.0), first in WAR for Pitchers (9.2), and first in innings pitched. SABR says, “All these years later, Irv’s 1905 total of 378 innings pitched and 41 complete games are still major-league records for a rookie in the 20th century. Needless to say, in this day and age of almost incessant relief pitching, they are records that will most likely last forever. And that’s a long, long time.” When he wasn’t pitching, his team, the Beaneaters, were 31-82. Altogether, Boston, coached by Fred Tenney, finished in seventh place with a 51-103 record. It’s what happens when a team can’t hit or pitch. Tenney would never manage a good team, but still stick around for four different seasons.

After this season, Young would be with Boston until 1908, before being traded to Pittsburgh mid-season. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1909 and finished off his career pitching two seasons with the White Sox in 1910 and 1911. He’d finish 63-95 for his career with a 3.11 ERA and a career 8.3 WAR.

reulbach

P-Ed Reulbach, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

18-14, 1.42 ERA, 152 K, .127, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 63 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-6.418

1st Time All-Star-Edward Marvin “Big Ed” Reulbach (pronounced ROYLE-bock) was born on December 1, 1882 in Detroit, MI, exactly 82 years before yours truly. The six-foot-one, 190 pound pitcher had a sensational rookie year, finishing fifth in WAR (7.4), third in WAR for Pitchers (8.3), second in ERA (1.42), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (209). He’s off to a good career, in which he’ll appear in four different World Series. Believe it or not, there actually was a good time to pitch for the Cubs.

There have been some good players born on my birthday, but the one that’s in the Hall of Fame only played one game and went oh-for-one. No, it’s not Moonlight Graham! He never batted. It’s longtime Dodgers manager Walter Alston. Larry Walker might change that someday.

SABR has the story of how Big Ed started: “But fate had something else in store for Ed Reulbach in 1905. While pitching under the alias of ‘Sheldon’ for the Montpelier-Barre Hyphens of Vermont’s outlaw Northern League, he met and fell in love with his future bride, Mary Ellen ‘Nellie’ Whelan of Montpelier. To be closer to Nellie, Ed decided to forego his senior year at Notre Dame and enroll in medical school at the University of Vermont. In the spring he became the star of the UVM baseball team, batting cleanup and playing left field when he wasn’t pitching. Newspapers called Reulbach the ‘greatest of all college pitchers,’ and on May 12, after winning his fourth start, 1-0, against Syracuse, he received an offer from the Chicago Cubs that ‘would take the breath away from an average person,’ according to the Burlington Free Press. That night, accompanied by a large group of students, Ed caught the train to New York.”

ewingb

P-Bob Ewing, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

20-11, 2.51 ERA, 164 K, .262, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Lemuel “Long Bob” Ewing was born on April 24, 1873 in New Hampshire, OH. The six-foot-one, 170 pound pitcher didn’t enter the Majors until he was 29 with Cincinnati. After a total record of 30-32 from 1902-04, he broke through this year, finishing sixth in WAR (6.8), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), eighth in innings pitched (311 2/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). At the time, the Reds were playing in a hitters’ park called Palace of the Fans.

Cincinnati, managed by Joe Kelley, finished 79-74, fifth in the National League. With Ewing leading the way, the Reds had some of the best pitching in the league. None of that was enough to save Kelley’s job. He was gone after the season despite leading the Reds to three straight records of over-.500 ball.

Did Ewing throw a no-hitter in 1903? It’s hard to tell because this Wikipedia article is so dreadfully written, but here’s what it says, “The season’s highlight came on August 18, 1903. The headline in the ‘Cincinnati Post’ told the story: ‘Kelley Claims Ewing Pitched a No-Hitter’ He blanked the New York Giants 7 to 0, giving up one infield hit by Jack Dunn in the eighth inning. The official scorer recorded the play as an out, but was ordered to score it as a hit. A dispatch from New York after the game stated: ‘Long Bob Ewing, fed on raw meat and clams for a week, was taken out of his cage and sent against the Giants…Old Wapak fired the leather down the alley so fast that the haze in its wake looked like the smoke in a shooting gallery.’ A seasoned and confident Bob Ewing barnstormed with the Reds after the season concluded.”

sparks2

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1903

14-11, 2.18 ERA, 98 K, .128, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Sparks had an off-season in 1904, going 7-16, but is back this season with another good season. He finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), sixth in ERA (2.18), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). Sparks pitched for a decent Phillies team that finished 83-69, fourth in the National League. Hugh Duffy’s squad had good hitting, led by rightfielder John Titus and only fair-to-middling pitching.

SABR says of his season, “His 1905 ERA was 2.18 and he was 14-11 for the fourth-place Phils. One game in particular helped his earned-run average considerably, though it ended in a loss. On August 24 at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl against the visiting Chicago Cubs, Sparks and Ed Ruelbach were both about as stingy as could be, neither of them allowing a run for the first 12 innings. A triple and a single resulted in an earned run being charged to Sparks, but the Phillies tied it on a base hit, a sacrifice fly foul ball, and another hit. Both pitchers were still going into the 20th inning, when a single, a sacrifice, and a hit up the middle scored another one for Chicago, and Philadelphia failed to score. Sparks was 0-for-7 in the game, leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 20th.”

Sparks wasn’t terrible, by any means, but it’s puzzling to me he received a nominating vote for the Hall of Fame in 1946. Meanwhile, Ed Reulbach never received any kind of vote whatsoever for Cooperstown. There goes the Hall driving me crazy again!

phillippe3

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 Years Old

1900 1903

20-13, 2.19 ERA, 133 K, .093, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.548 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

3rd Time All-Star-Phillippe had a tough 1904 season, pitching only 166 2/3 innings with a 3.24 ERA, but came back this year. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.0), seventh in ERA (2.19), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (137). It seems like a pitcher with a lifetime 138-83 record and 2.56 ERA up to this point in his seven season career should have more than three All-Star appearances, but there you go. This might be his last one.

As for his team, the Pirates, Fred Clarke had them in the thick of the race again, but New York was just too good. Pittsburgh finished 96-57, nine games out. It was led by Honus Wagner, the great shortstop, but had only average pitching.

Baseball Reference states, “He had an illness that affected his eye in 1904, but recovered for 1905. However, he began to have arm troubles. And in 1908, a line drive broke his finger. In 1909, he pitched 6 innings in the 1909 World Series which the Pirates won against Ty Cobb‘s Detroit Tigers. In 1910, at the age of 38, he went 14-2, which was the best winning percentage in the league. He also hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run, one of the last pitchers to do so.

“Incredibly, Deacon never had a losing season in his 13 years of major league baseball. In 1969, Pittsburgh Pirates fans voted Deacon Pittsburgh’s all-time right handed pitcher.” That’s incredible to me, because sports fans tend to regard people in their own era as the best and not look back some 50 years as those wise 1969 Pirates fans did.

wicker

P-Bob Wicker, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

13-6, 2.02 ERA, 86 K, .139, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Kitridge “Bob” Wicker was born on May 25, 1877 in Bono, IN, and the Cubs couldn’t win with or without him. Bono? U2? We move on. Wicker started pitching one game for the Cardinals in 1901, then became a regular pitcher for them the next season. In 1903, he pitched one game again for the Cardinals, then was traded to the Cubs for Bob Rhoads. He won 20 games for Chicago in 1903, 17 in 1904, and then made the All-Star team this season. Wicker finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), third in ERA (2.02), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (147). He only pitched one more season, splitting between Chicago and Cincinnati in 1906. Wicker finished with a 64-52 record, a 2.73 ERA, and 10.5 WAR.

SABR wraps up his life with one pithy paragraph, saying, “During the first decade of the Deadball Era, the Chicago Cubs boasted eight different pitchers who posted 20-win seasons for the club.Perhaps the least known of them is Bob Wicker, a strapping 26-year-old right-hander who went 20-9 in 1903. Unhappily for Wicker, he was traded to Cincinnati early in the 1906 campaign, thus missing out on the four National League pennants and two World Series crowns the Cubs would win in the coming five-season span. By the time that the Cubs completed their championship run in 1910, Wicker was out of Organized Baseball, pitching mostly for semipro teams. Still, Wicker soldiered on, pitching/managing in the Class B Northwestern League in 1915, and thereafter playing in the Chicago city league until he was nearly 40. The remainder of his life was spent quietly, living and working in the Chicago area until his death in early 1955.”

weimer3

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 31 Years Old

1903 1904

18-12, 2.26 ERA, 107 K, .207, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Not too many pitchers had a better start to their career than Tornado Jake Weimer, who now has three All-Star appearances in three seasons. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), ninth in ERA (2.26), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (131). The Cubs had a sensational pitching staff in the 1900s.

As I write this, the 2017 World Series started and is currently tied 2-2. I live in the Los Angeles area, but I’m rooting for the Astros over the Dodgers. I’m a Reds fan and, because of the former Cincinnati-Los Angeles rivalry, I still don’t like the Dodgers. I’m getting flak on Facebook for that.

My point in this, and admittedly this has nothing to do with Weimer, is how people come up with favorite teams. For me, when I started liking sports in the ‘70s, there was one baseball game a week on TV, the NBC Game of the Week. Because the Reds were good, they tended to show them a lot, so that was the team I knew. I lived in the Omaha area at that time and there was no real pro team around. So I started rooting for the Reds and have ever since.

Next, and I know this will sound strange from someone compiling All-Star teams for 146 years of baseball history, is how seriously people take sports. I’m rooting for the Astros to beat the Dodgers, but if they do or they don’t, it won’t change my life one bit. It’s entertainment. Are you not entertained!?

overall

P-Orval Overall, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

18-23, 2.86 ERA, 173 K, .145, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-13

1st Time All-Star-Orval Overall was born on Groundhog Day! 1881 in Farmersville, CA. The six-foot-two, 214 pounder had a great rookie year for the Reds, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.2) and seventh in innings pitched (318). He’d be traded to Chicago next season and have a short but successful career for the Cubs dynasty.

Wikipedia says, “He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of Sigma Nu and captain of the football team. He was named an All-American in football.

“Overall started his professional baseball career in 1904. With the Pacific Coast League‘s Tacoma Tigers, he pitched 510.2 innings, going 32–25 with a 2.78 earned run average. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in September. In 1905, his rookie season, he was the ace of the Reds pitching staff and won 18 games.”

SABR quotes a teammate, “’Overall pitches his curve with a wide, sweeping overhand swing, releasing the ball over the side of the index finger as his hand turns downward,’ wrote Johnny Evers in Touching Second. ‘His swing and curve are duplicates of those used by Adonis Terry, Jim McCormick, and some of the great pitchers of the past, and when his jerk motion at the finish of the wide swing is sharp, the curve actually darts downward.’

“Orval’s father, Daniel, was a well-to-do businessman who owned the Palace Hotel in addition to a citrus farm, and Orval enjoyed an upper-class upbringing. After pitching and playing first base at Visalia High School, the 19-year-old Overall enrolled at the University of California-Berkeley in the fall of 1900. He excelled in his studies of agricultural science and was elected president of the freshman class.”

duggleby2

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1901

18-17, 2.46 ERA, 75 K, .109, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-10

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1901, Duggleby switched over to the American League Athletics and pitched two games for them, before jumping back to the Phillies that same 1902 season. His ERA was high for the Deadball Era, being above three for three straight seasons. This season, it dipped to 2.46 as he was one of the best pitchers in the league. Duggleby finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.5) and 10th in ERA (2.46). He’s probably going to be an All-Star one more time.

Wikipedia explains his two-game excursion in the AL, stating, “Duggleby was one of the ‘jumpers’ who left the Phillies in 1902 for other teams, including (in Duggleby’s case) Connie Mack‘s new American League team, the Athletics. The Phillies filed suit to prevent the ‘jumpers’ — in particular, Nap LajoieBill Bernhard, and Chick Fraser — from playing for any other team, a plea which was rejected by a lower court before being upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Duggleby was the first of the ‘jumpers’ to return to the Phillies, on May 8, 1902, after playing only two games with the A’s.”

Duggleby was one of two players, the other being St. Louis’ Jack Taylor, to give up double-digit home runs in the National League. It was difficult to give up homers in those days. The leading home run hitter for the league was Cincinnati rightfielder Fred Odwell and he only had nine. I’m wondering how the modern fan would like old-time baseball with its low run totals and emphasis on strategy.

Bresnahan Roger 1461-68WT2_Bat_PDC-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1903 1904

.302, 0 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing %-55.5

Range Factor/Game as C-6.97

3rd Time All-Star-In 1900, Bresnahan played one game for the Orphans, catching in that contest. It was also his main position in 1901. In 1902, for Baltimore and the Giants, he split his time between the outfield, catcher, and third base. In 1903 and 1904, Bresnahan made the All-Star team as a centerfielder. This season, he finally made the move to catcher and ended up as the best in the league. He finished 10th in batting (.302) and sixth in on-base percentage (.411), good for anyone, but outstanding for a backstop. He also had an outstanding World Series, hitting .313 with two doubles and four walks. Bresnahan had two hits, including a double in the fifth and final game. His OPS (.938) was the highest on the team as the Giants pounded the Athletics, 4-1.

New York manager John McGraw said of his catcher, “Bresnahan had a memory almost as good as [Christy] Mathweson or [Joe] McGinnity. He never had to be told twice. Once we had discovered a weak spot in the opposition and had discussed a plan for attacking it I could depend absolutely on Bresnahan to carry it out. He did not forget. His whole mind was concentrated on winning that particular game and it was rarely that he overlooked anything.”

From SABR: “It was during his years with the Giants that Bresnahan made his contributions to the development of playing equipment. After a hospital stay necessitated by a beaning, he experimented in 1905 with the Reach Pneumatic Head Protector, which was essentially a leather football helmet sliced in half to protect the left side of a right-handed hitter’s head.”

grady2

C-Mike Grady, St. Louis Cardinals, 35 Years Old

1904

.286, 4 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Grady is back on the All-Star team for his second straight season as one of the best catchers in baseball. He finished fifth in the National League in slugging (.434) and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). Drinking affected his career and hindered his longevity, but when Grady was good, he was good.

St. Louis wasn’t good, however, and it took three managers to prove it. Kid Nichols (5-9), Jimmy Burke (34-56), and Stan Robison (19-31) guided the team to a sixth place 58-96 record. It had no All-Star pitchers and not much hitting.

Wikipedia says, “Grady is known for being part of an unfortunate piece of baseball history. As a third baseman for the Giants in 1899, Grady committed four fielding errors on a single play. He misplayed a groundball for one error, threw over the first baseman’s head for another, dropped the throw from the first baseman as he tried to gun down the runner at third, and threw over the catcher’s head into the stands as the base runner broke for home.

“Grady was vociferous and outspoken during his playing career, and never shied away from recounting the infamous tale of his most embarrassing moment. He was fond of saying that upon committing the third error of the play, he purposefully threw the ball into the stands in anger.”

SABR, of course, has to ruin everything, saying the play didn’t happen. This irritating thing known as “research” says he never made more than three errors in a game, never mind one play. Click on the link for details.

chance31B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 28 Years Old

1903 1904

.316, 2 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.450

3rd Time All-Star-Chance made his third straight All-Star team for the Cubs, having another great year despite playing only 118 games. He finished eighth in WAR (5.6), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.1), sixth in batting (.316), first in on-base percentage (.450), seventh in slugging (.434), sixth in steals (38), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159). Chance injured himself a lot or his career would be even more outstanding than it is.

However, the most important contribution from Chance this season was as manager. Frank Selee started out the year 37-28, before Husk took the reins. He guided the team to a 55-33 finish as the team finished 92-61, 13 games out of first. The team was led by its three All-Star pitchers. It would be the beginning of a great stretch for Chicago.

Bleed Cubbie Blue says, “By 1905 Selee was seriously ill with tuberculosis, and could not travel with the team. Chance acted as player-manager on the road. Selee resigned August 1, and Chance was elected manager by player vote, a result ratified by Hart. The vote was close, Chance was admired for his play and strategy, but disliked for his combative personal style. The team won 40 of the 63 games played under Chance’s control, finishing third. After years of mediocrity, the Cubs were seen as a club on the rise, but no one foresaw that the golden age of the team’s history was about to dawn.” Selee was Wally Pipped out of a job.

mcgann3

1B-Dan McGann, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1898 1904

.299, 5 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-19 (5th Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (5th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Cap made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title. This season, McGann finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.4), ninth in on-base percentage (.391), sixth in slugging (.434), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (143). In the World Series, which New York won in five games over Philadelphia, he went four-for-17 (.235) with two doubles as the team’s cleanup hitter. Most of his damage came in one game when in the third game, a 9-0 win for the Giants, McGann went three-for-five with a double and four RBI.

McGann would play two more seasons with New York and finish his career with the National League Boston Doves in 1908. Then, Wikipedia says, “McGann suffered from severe clinical depression, a condition which ran throughout his family. One of McGann’s sisters committed suicide in 1890 after their mother died. On New Year’s Eve in 1907, one of McGann’s brothers died as a result of an accidental shooting. In 1909, another of McGann’s brothers committed suicide.

“On December 13, 1910, McGann committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart at a Louisville hotel. At the time of his death, he was 39 years old, and reportedly had been ‘in the best of health and humor’ when last seen. McGann was survived by two sisters, who, despite the family history of suicide, believed their brother had been murdered, as a diamond ring valued at $800 ($20,563 in current dollar terms) McGann had been seen wearing was missing.”

huggins

2B-Miller Huggins, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

.273, 1 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-103

Assists as 2B-525

Errors Committed as 2B-51

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.03

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.85

1st Time All-Star-Miller James “Hug” or “Mighty Mite” Huggins was born on March 27, 1878 in Cincinnati, OH. While most of his fame would come from managing Babe Ruth and the Yankees, the five-foot-six, 140 pounder was a decent player. He started as a 26-year-old rookie for the Reds in 1904 and had a good year this season, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (1.0) and eighth in on-base percentage (.392).

Those sizes above might be false. SABR says, “’He [Huggins] was grievously handicapped by his lack of size,’ wrote John Sheridan in the Sporting News. While databases list Huggins at 5’ 6” and 140 pounds, he was actually much smaller, around 5’ 1”-5’2” and 125 pounds. When John McGraw had a chance to acquire Huggins for his Baltimore Orioles in 1901, he declined to do so. ‘That shrimp?’ he said to himself. ‘He’s too little to be of any use as a big leaguer.’

“Perhaps to compensate for his size, Huggins had a fierce and relentless determination to succeed and use his head to win. ‘Because he was so small and slight, he must overcome by clear thinking,’ wrote Frank Graham, ‘obstacles that other players could surmount by force.’

“Huggins endured the usual rookie hazing when he joined the Reds. The regulars were amused by Huggins’s crooked smile and funny batting stance. ‘Pipe the new mascot,’ howled the 6’5” Larry McLean, as he picked up the 5’6” rookie, and held up him for the other Reds to see. ‘Why, kid, you’re too little to play in the big leagues. We eat guys like you for breakfast. What’s your name, Pint-Size?’”

devlina2

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1904

.246, 2 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-59

Assists as 3B-299

2nd Time All-Star-Devlin made his second straight All-Star team and won his second straight league title in his sophomore year. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5), and first in steals (59). In the World Series, which the Giants won 4-1 over Philadelphia, he hit .250 with a double and three steals while hitting seventh in the lineup. He drove in his only run in the third game, singling to bring in Dan McGann and then pulled off a double steal, stealing second while Bill Dahlen stole home.

SABR states, “Devlin finished his rookie year with respectable numbers on a pennant-winning team, and slipped a bit in his sophomore year, but stole a league-leading 59 bases (tying Billy Maloney of Chicago), the only time he ever led the league in an offensive category. The Giants won the World Series, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics as Mathewson and Joe McGinnity threw four shutouts between them. The Athletics scored one of their three runs in Game 2 (and for the Series) in the eighth inning when Bresnahan dropped Devlin’s relay. Devlin hit .250 and drove in a run for the Series.”

And from the National Pastime Museum: “Christy Mathewson was not Irish—but the same could not be said about the team that surrounded him. The Giants’ best hitter, Donlin, was Irish, So was their second-best pitcher, McGinnity. Catcher Roger Bresnahan, the ‘Duke of Tralee,’ was Irish; Dan McGann, holding down the first-base bag, was Irish; Art Devlin at third was Irish; 15-game winner Hooks Wiltse was Irish—and likely to have been Irish are shortstop Bill Dahlan and utility man Boileryard Clarke. Of a certainty, with emphasis, Manager John McGraw was Irish. If the 1905 series is taken as a test case, Jerrold Casway is obviously right in terming the age as Emerald as far as the Giants of New York City go.”

wagner7

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904

.363, 6 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR Position Players-10.2 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.7 (5th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.14 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.00 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Since the beginning of Major League baseball in 1871, the dominant players in the league, the ones that added the most value, had always been on the mound. The only position player to ever lead a league in WAR over these 35 years was Fred Dunlap, a second baseman in the 1884 Union Association, but that was a fluke because the league, which only existed for one season, was so watered down. This season, the great Wagner accomplished the same thing in a legitimate league and it would be the first of four straight seasons he’d do so.

This season, Wagner finished first in WAR (10.2), first in WAR Position Players (10.2), first in Offensive WAR (8.7), third in Defensive WAR (2.7), second in batting (.363), third in on-base percentage (.427), second in slugging (.505), third in steals (57), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (175). As a reminder, all of this was done in a league with a total slash line of .255/.315/.332. Half of the teams didn’t hit over .250.

Wikipedia says, “In September 1905, Wagner signed a contract to produce the first bat with a player’s signature, the Louisville Slugger, becoming the first sportsperson to endorse a commercial product; the Honus Wagner was to become a best-seller for years. One month later, with one point separating him from Reds center fielder Cy Seymour for the batting title, Wagner fell short in a head-to-head matchup on the final day of the season, with Seymour collecting four hits to Wagner’s two, as contemporary press reports stated that the fans were far more interested in the Seymour-Wagner battle than in the outcome of the games.”

dahlen9SS-Bill Dahlen, New York Giants, 35 Years Old, 1905 ONEHOF Inductee

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903 1904

.242, 7 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

9th Time All-Star-Dahlen’s not in the Hall of Fame, though he should be, but he’s now in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame of my invention in which one player every year enters. The nominees for the ONEHOF for 1906 are Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, Joe McGinnity, Jimmy Collins, Bobby Wallace, and Honus Wagner.

Dahlen finished ninth in WAR (5.5), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.5), second in Defensive WAR (3.1), and seventh in stolen bases (37). He didn’t have much success in the World Series versus the Philadelphia Athletics, a series the Giants won 4-1. Bad Bill went hitless in 15 at-bats, though he walked three times and stole three bases. However, Wikipedia mentions, “Although he was hitless in the five-game Series, he contributed with flawless defense and by drawing three walks and stealing three bases. He was often considered one of the quietest players in the game, keeping to himself most of the time.” Wait, Bad Bill was quiet? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. Most of what I’ve read has Dahlen as a rabble-rouser. Or as SABR says, “Ferocious shortstop Bill Dahlen was ejected 65 times by umpires as a player and manager. This and other behavior earned him the nickname ‘Bad Bill.’ Yet his rowdy character tended to overshadow his contributions—a reliable hitter; excellent, aggressive baserunner; and one of the finest fielders of his era (the 1890s and early 1900s).” I wonder if Dahlen’s family went to Wikipedia and slipped that statement in there. It does seem tremendously out of place.

magee

LF-Sherry Magee, Philadelphia Phillies, 20 Years Old

.299, 5 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-155

Def. Games as OF-155

1st Time All-Star-Sherwood Robert “Sherry” Magee was born on August 6, 1884 in Clarendon, PA and is one of the most underrated players of all-time. He started out playing 95 games for the Phillies in 1904 and showed enough to become yet another of the great Philadelphia outfielders. This season, Magee finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.2), 10th in slugging (.420), and fifth in steals (48). He’s got some much better seasons ahead.

SABR says, “The son of an oilfield worker, Sherwood Robert Magee was born on August 6, 1884, in Clarendon, Pennsylvania. ‘The Irish traits of quick wittedness, a hot temper and an aggressive love of fighting are his by birthright,’ wrote John J. Ward in Baseball Magazine. Regarding Magee’s personality, one Philadelphia reporter called him ‘as gentle and good-natured as an old woman.’ Ward, however, described him as ‘a man for whom it is easy to conceive a great liking or a passionate hatred.’ Though he stood only 5’11” and weighed 179 lbs., he was physically imposing-‘husky’ and ‘burly’ were adjectives commonly used to describe him. In addition to his baseball skills, Sherry was a crackerjack bowler and a standout football and basketball player.

“Over the next several years Sherry Magee rarely missed a game, establishing himself as one of baseball’s young stars. In 1905, his first full season, he was the biggest factor in Philadelphia’s gain of 31 victories over 1904, scoring an even 100 runs, stealing 48 bases, and batting .299 with 24 doubles, 17 triples, and five homers.”

sheckard4

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 26 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

.292, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After a disappointing 1904 season, Sheckard is back, making the team as Brooklyn’s only representative. He finished seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (140). It would have probably been a better season if he didn’t miss over 20 games.

As for his team, the Superbas, they, um, stunk. “Led” by Ned Hanlon, the team finished last with a 48-104 record. After seven years of coaching Brooklyn and leading it to two National League pennants, Hanlon was gone after this season.

SABR states, “Sheckard bounced back with a .332 average in 1903, when he also led the league with nine home runs and tied Chicago’s Frank Chance for the stolen-base crown with 67, but the following season his hitting plummeted again, this time to a dismal .239. Even though Jimmy batted a respectable .292 in 1905, reports circulated that he wasn’t playing up to his potential or, worse yet, that he might even be washed up. Despite Sheckard’s popularity with the fans, on December 30, 1905, Brooklyn traded him to the Chicago Cubs for outfielders Jack McCarthy and Billy Maloney, third-baseman Doc Casey, pitcher Buttons Briggs, and $2,000. Initially Jimmy balked at the deal–the press speculated that he would have preferred a move to McGraw’s Giants–but eventually he had a change of heart and reported to the Cubs.”

Every year, teams have to finish first and some have to finish last, but if this list has taught me anything, there are talented players strewn throughout the league. Sheckard was a good player and yet still got traded. This is how bad teams stay bad.

seymour4

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.377, 8 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1905 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.377

Slugging %-.559

On-Base Plus Slugging-.988

Hits-219

Total Bases-325

Doubles-40

Triples-21

Runs Batted In-121

Adjusted OPS+-182

Runs Created-139

Adj. Batting Runs-60

Adj. Batting Wins-6.5

Extra Base Hits-69

Offensive Win %-.871

Double Plays Turned as OF-12

4th Time All-Star-During the past couple of years, Seymour was an excellent hitter, but this season, he was otherworldly, easily having his best year ever. He finished fourth in WAR (8.0), second in WAR Position Players (8.0), second in Offensive WAR (7.6), first in batting (.377), second in on-base percentage (.429), first in slugging (.559), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (182). Plus Seymour led in all those categories above. He fell just one home run short from winning the Triple Crown.

SABR on this incredible season: “In 1905 no batter, not even the great Honus Wagner, could match Cy’s batting accomplishments. Throughout much of the season Wagner lagged a few points behind Wagner. Both players met in a season ending doubleheader. A newspaper account that would be slightly reminiscent to today’s readers of the head to head battle between Sosa and McGwire nearly a century later reported ‘ . . . 10,000 were more interested in the batting achievements of Wagner and Seymour than the games…cheer upon cheers greeted the mighty batsmen upon each appearance at the plate and mighty cheering greeted the sound of bat upon ball as mighty Cy drove out hit after hit. The boss slugger got 4 for 7 while Wagner could only get 2 for 7…’ allowing Cy to win the crown by 13 points. He was first not only in batting average` but also in hits, doubles, triples, total bases, RBI, slugging average, production, batter runs, and runs created. He was also a close second in home runs, runs produced and on-base percentage. His 1905 batting achievements served as a benchmark for his era; his .377 average was the best in the National League from 1901-1919; his slugging average of .559 was the best until Gavvy Cravath’s .568 in 1913; his 121 RBI were tops until Sherry Magee drove in 123 in 1910; and his 40 doubles was the most ever hit by any National League outfielder until Pat Duncan collected 44 in 1922.”

donlin3CF-Mike Donlin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

1901 1903

.356, 7 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-124

Singles-162

3rd Time All-Star-Unrealized potential is one of the saddest things in life, especially when the lack of reaching that potential is self-inflicted. Turkey Mike Donlin could hit with the best of them in the Deadball Era, but missed many games to injuries and his drinking. In 1904, he played 60 games for Cincinnati, before being traded to the Giants. This season, he finished seventh in WAR (6.5), third in WAR Position Players (6.5), third in Offensive WAR (6.8), third in batting (.356), fifth in on-base percentage (.413), third in slugging (.495), eighth in steals (33), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (167). It was Donlin’s best season ever.

It helped lead the Giants to the World Series where Donlin hit .263 (five-for-19) with a double. It wasn’t great, but with the arm of Christy Mathewson leading the way with three shutouts, it was more than enough.

Unfortunately, so many of the write-ups of Donlin’s life focus on his extra-curricular activities as in this note from The National Pastime Museum, which says, “Like many players of the time, Donlin craved the nightlife, and his booming voice drew attention in bars across the country. He was convivial up to a point but didn’t hold his liquor well and could turn nasty and even violent. In fact, he was sleeping off a bender in a jail in Santa Cruz, California, when the first summons to the Major Leagues arrived. That wasn’t the last time he experienced simultaneous highs and lows.” Only manager John McGraw could handle him.

thomas4CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1899 1903 1904

.317, 0 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-275 (6th Time)

Putouts as OF-373 (3rd Time)

Assists as OF-27

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

4th Time All-Star-Thomas continued to show patience at the plate and continued to make All-Star teams. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.4), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in batting (.317), fourth in on-base percentage (.417), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (135). However, Thomas now was 31 and his career would decline going forward. He played with Philadelphia until 1908, when he was traded to Pittsburgh, moved to the National League Boston Doves in 1909, and then finished off his career in Philadelphia in 1910-11. He’d never hit above .263 after 1905, though he continued to show a good batting eye.

Wikipedia states, “According to baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.

“Thomas was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1908 midseason. He also played for the Boston Doves in 1909, returning to the Phillies for the 1910–11 seasons. At his retirement, he held career fielding records for center fielders in putouts (NL) and fielding average (MLB). Thomas left a playing record that has endured. He ranks 20th all-time in walk percentage (.164), 29th all-time in on-base percentage (.412) and 84th all-time in walks (1,042).

“Thomas became a coach with the University of Pennsylvania baseball team in 1909, and continued playing in the majors while coaching for three seasons. From 1909 to 1919, he compiled a record of 106–43–3 for a .632 winning percentage, comparable to the best college coaches of all time.”

smoot

CF-Homer Smoot, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

.311, 4 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Homer Vernon “Doc” Smoot was born on March 23, 1878 in Galestown, MD. The five-foot-10, 180 pound centerfielder started with the Cardinals in 1902 and was pretty much a singles hitter from the beginning. This season, he added a smidge of power and ended up on the All-Star team, having his best season ever. He finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.9), seventh in batting (.311), eighth in slugging (.433), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Some players start adding that power around 27 years old like Smoot and light up their career, but this was the pinnacle for Doc.

Smoot played just one more season, playing 86 games for the Cardinals and 60 games for my Reds and would retire after having a five-year career.

Wikipedia says, “1906 saw Smoot’s career take a rapid turn for the worse. He started the season with the Cardinals, hitting only .248 with them. That prompted a midseason trade with the Reds, who sent Shad Barry in return for Smoot. Although his average rose while with the Reds-he hit .259 with them-that could not save his season or his career. After hitting only .252 combined that season, his major league career was over. He played his final major league game on October 7. After the 1906 season, his contract was sold to the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association.

“Multiple explanations have been posed to explain the quick decline in production and from Smoot, and the quick end to his career. One claim is his eyesight became poor, although his obituary says his eyesight remained ‘undimmed’. His obituary says he was slowed by muscular rheumatism. Luck may have also played a factor, and Smoot was just unlucky and didn’t get the chance to play in the majors again.”

titus

RF-John Titus, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

.308, 2 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-“Silent John” Franklin or “Tight Pants” Titus was born on February 21, 1876 in St. Clair, PA. The five-foot-nine, 156 pound rightfielder started with Philadelphia in 1903, but this season had his best season ever. Titus finished 10th in WAR (5.5), sixth in WAR Position Players (5.5), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.1), eighth in batting (.308), seventh in on-base percentage (.397), fourth in slugging (.436), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (152).

SABR says, “’Silent John’ Titus was a strong-armed outfielder who recorded more than 20 assists for seven straight seasons, but he was better known for his quiet demeanor, his mustache, his selectivity at the plate, and the ubiquitous toothpick in his mouth. ‘Titus had one of the best batting eyes I ever saw,’ said Pete Alexander, who played with Titus on the Phillies during the early part of his career. ‘He would take his position at the plate with the easiest and most confident air in the world. If the ball was an inch outside of the plate, he would watch it go by and never bat an eye lash. If it was an inch inside, he wouldn’t move. He would just draw in his stomach and let the ball pass. But if you put the ball over the plate, he would whale the cover off. It used to exasperate me merely to watch him. Many a time I have said to myself, If I were pitching, Old Man, I’d knock that toothpick out of your mouth and maybe then you’d move over.’”

1904 American League All-Star Team

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Howell, SLB

P-Jesse Tannehill, BOS

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Bill Bernhard, CLE

P-Casey Patten, WSH

C-Joe Sugden, SLB

C-Lew Drill, WSH/DET

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Danny Murphy, PHA

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

3B-Lee Tannehill, CHW

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Freddy Parent, BOS

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-Kid Elberfeld, NYY

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Willie Keeler, NYY

 

chesbro4

P-Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, 30 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

41-12, 1.82 ERA, 239 K, .236, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.0

Wins-41 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.774 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.691

Games Pitched-55

Innings Pitched-454 2/3

Games Started-51

Complete Games-48

Batters Faced-1,720

Adj. Pitching Runs-44

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.2

Def. Games as P-55

Assists as P-166

4th Time All-Star-Chesbro’s 1904 season is one of the most famous of all time, as he compiled the all-time win record with 41. There’s only been one 40-win season since and there won’t be another one unless the rules are drastically changed. While 41 is the all-time record since the mound was moved back to its modern distance of 60 feet, six inches in 1893, Old Hoss Radbourn holds the actual record of 59 in 1884. This season, Chesbro finished first in WAR (11.0), second (!) in WAR for Pitchers (10.2), fourth in Earned Run Average (1.82), first in innings pitched (454 2/3), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (150).

As for Chesbro’s team, the Highlanders moved up from fourth to second, finishing with a 92-59 record. Clark Griffith managed the team which ended up just one-and-a-half games behind Boston. After a five-game winning streak late in the season, New York was up by half a game, but it ended up losing three of its last four to Boston to lose the race. The Highlanders had good hitting, led by shortstop Kid Elberfeld, but their pitching when Chesbro was sitting wasn’t good.

Griffith was an old-school manager who believed he should get the most out of his pitchers, but Chesbro’s career would never be the same after this year. Part of it is age, of course, but it’s also the strain 454 innings put on his arm. After compiling a 132-65 record his first six years, he’d be 66-67 the remainder of his career.

young14

P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 37 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

26-16, 1.97 ERA, 200 K, .223, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-0.937 (5th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.687 (12th Time)

Shutouts-10 (7th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-6.897 (9th Time)

14th Time All-Star-Was there anything left for Young to accomplish in his storied career? Well, as it turns out, 1904 was his first season with 200 strikeouts. He’d always won with control, but he wasn’t a finesse pitcher by any means. He didn’t get the nickname Cyclone for nothing. The sad part about this year is, even though Boston won the crown, Young didn’t pitch in his second consecutive World Series because of John McGraw’s hissy fit. As it would turn out, Young would never get another chance to pitch in the Fall Classic.

Oh, well, it doesn’t take away from his great year in which he finished second in WAR (9.8), third in WAR for Pitchers (9.5), sixth in ERA (1.97), fifth in innings pitched (380), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

Young continues to have the most All-Star teams at his position. Here’s the entire list:

P- Cy Young (14)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

2B-Cupid Childs, Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee (7)

3B-Jimmy Collins, Denny Lyons, Ezra Sutton, Ned Williamson (6)

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

You might notice his manager and teammate, Jimmy Collins, joined the list this season. Boston basically had two of the greatest players at their position on the team. No wonder they were so dominant around this time. Anson actually has the most All-Star teams at this point with 17. Will Young beat that mark? If I had to guess, he’ll tie it, but not surpass it.

Oh, and one more thing, Young pitched a perfect game on May 5 of this season against Rube Waddell and the Athletics.

waddell3

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1902 1903

25-19, 1.62 ERA, 349 K, .122, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-10.5 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-8.201 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-349 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-165 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.59 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If we judge by WAR or FIP, Waddell was the best pitcher in the American League and that league included a 41-win pitcher. He did finish below Jack Chesbro and Cy Young in overall WAR due to his atrocious hitting. What’s funny is that through 1902, Waddell actually had a decent stick, hitting .237 with an OPS+ of 67. After that season, he would hit only .127 and have an OPS+ of…wait for it….4. Four. However, during the stretch his hitting fell apart, Waddell’s pitching was out of this world. This season, Waddell finished third in WAR (9.7), first in WAR for Pitchers (10.5), second in ERA (1.62), third in innings pitched (383), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (165). He also set the modern day (from 1893) record for strikeouts with 349, breaking his own record of 302 from 1902. This wouldn’t be beaten until Sandy Koufax K’d 382 in 1965.

As for his team, the Athletics, they dropped from third to fifth. Connie Mack guided Philadelphia to a 81-70 record, 12-and-a-half games out of first. Waddell and teammate Eddie Plank gave it great pitching, but its hitting wasn’t enough for the team to contend.

It’s important you read the SABR article for a whole catalog of Rube’s eccentricities, but here’s a story from 1904 about his compassion: “The Rube also demonstrated his more compassionate side when Athletics’ center fielder Danny Hoffman was knocked unconscious by a fastball to the temple. ‘Someone went for an ambulance, and the players crowded around in aimless bewilderment,’ wrote Connie Mack. ‘Somebody said that Danny might not live until the doctor got there. Then the man they had called the playboy and clown went into action. Pushing everybody to one side, he gently placed Danny over his shoulder and actually ran across the field.’ Rube flagged down a carriage, which carted the pair to the nearest hospital. Rube, still in uniform, sat at Hoffman’s bedside for most of the night, and held ice to Hoffman’s head.”

plank4

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

26-17, 2.17 ERA, 201 K, .240, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

4th Time All-Star-It certainly was a golden era of pitching in the early 20th Century. Look at the top four of this list, all of them are in the Hall of Fame. With people like Christy Mathewson and Cy Young pitching, it seems Plank always got lost in the shuffle, but every year he held his own. This season, Gettysburg finished fourth in WAR (9.0), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.5), 10th in ERA (2.17), seventh in innings pitched (357 1/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (124). Yet, he seemed to pitch in the shadow of the aforementioned along with his own teammate, Rube Waddell. Well, Plank has something Waddell may never achieve, induction into Ron’s Hall of Fame! (Cue applause).

SABR agrees Plank was overlooked, stating, “He had some great seasons and many good ones, but there always seemed to be someone having a better one. Usually it was Walter Johnson, but there would occasionally be someone like Jack Chesbro, Ed Walsh, or Joe Wood, whose overall careers weren’t the equal of Plank’s. Accordingly, in no season was he considered the top pitcher in the American League; he had to be satisfied with being one of the top four or five, but he was in that position year after year, and while other pitchers came and went, Plank persevered, helping the Philadelphia Athletics to five American League pennants and three world championships. ‘Plank was not the fastest,’ teammate Eddie Collins once observed. ‘He was not the trickiest, and not the possessor of the most stuff. He was just the greatest.’”

howell2

P-Harry Howell, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

1901

13-21, 2.19 ERA, 122 K, .221, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-5.07 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1901 for Baltimore Orioles, Howell pitched for Baltimore again in 1902, then New York in 1903. Then on March 6, 1904, Howell was traded to the Browns for Jack Powell. His career revived, Howell had a great season, despite his miserable won-loss record. He finished ninth in WAR (6.3) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.6).

Unfortunately, Howell’s team wasn’t too good, staying in sixth place under the guidance of manager Jimmy McAleer. St. Louis finished 65-87, with miserable hitting and pitching. The Browns would have a long history of mediocrity.

From SABR: “A stocky 5’8″ right-hander who threw one of the wettest spitballs in baseball history, Harry Howell was the St. Louis Browns’ best pitcher during the Deadball Era, establishing a franchise record for career ERA (2.06) that has never been equaled. Howell learned his singular pitch from spitballing legend Jack Chesbro in 1903, and subsequently relied on it almost exclusively. Indeed, Howell’s method of loading-up the ball disgusted those who thought it uncouth and unsanitary. Eddie Collins once said, ‘Howell used so much slippery elm we could see the foam on his lips and on hot days some of the boys thought he was about to go mad.’ Some sources claim the error rates of Browns infielders spiked whenever Howell was pitching, as fielders unsuccessfully attempted to grip the saliva-soaked sphere. Known as ‘Handsome Harry,’ Howell was also a fan favorite during his seven years with the Browns, especially among women, a situation which brought about the demise of Howell’s first marriage.”

tannehill3

P-Jesse Tannehill, Boston Americans, 29 Years Old

1898 1899

21-11, 2.04 ERA, 116 K, .197, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Tannehill last made the All-Star team as a 24-year-old pitcher for the Pirates in 1899. He continued being part of that squad through 1902, being part of two league-winning teams. In 1903, he jumped to the American League Highlanders and this season, he came to Boston in a trade for Tom Hughes. As Baseball Reference says, “The trade turned out to be a steal for Boston: Hughes was railroaded out of New York before the end of the 1904 season, combining for an awful 9-24 record between New York and the Washington Senators, while Tannehill recorded the 5th 20-win season of his career for the Americans, finishing the year at 21-11 with a 2.04 ERA.” It seems like wherever Tannehill goes, his team succeeds and this season, the Americans won their second consecutive American League pennant.

Tannehill finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), seventh in ERA (2.04), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). He’s one of three Boston pitchers to make this list. Wikipedia says, “After six years with the Pirates in the National League, Tannehill got involved in a salary dispute with Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss. As a result, Tannehill jumped to the startup American League franchise, the New York Highlanders. After the season, he was traded by the Highlanders to the Boston Americans for Tom L. Hughes. Tannehill still had some good years left, however. He was an important part of the Boston Americans championship team of 1904, pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on August 17, 1904 (his brother Lee went 0 for three for Chicago) and continued to be an above average pitcher until 1907.” Lee also made the All-Star team.

dinneen6

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 28 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

23-14, 2.20 ERA, 153 K, .208, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

6th Time All-Star-Dinneen, 1903’s World Series hero, should have had another chance this season, but New York declined going to the Fall Classic and Boston, despite winning the American League title, didn’t get to show off Big Bill again. This season, he finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), eighth in innings pitched (335 2/3), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (122). He’s not the most famous of the 1900 pitchers and he didn’t make the Hall of Fame, but he carved out a nice career for himself.

After his career ended, Dinneen received fame for his umpiring. SABR says, “Dinneen became the first person to play in a World Series and umpire in the Fall Classic, and is still the only person to pitch a shutout and umpire in the series. He umpired in eight different World Series, 45 games in all. He was on the field for Babe Ruth’s called shot in 1932, and six years earlier he was the umpire who called Ruth out for attempting to steal second against Grover Cleveland Alexander to end the 1926 series. Among his other umpiring highlights, Dinneen was the home plate umpire for Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927, the first All-Star Game in 1933, and five no-hitters. What type of reputation did Dinneen have as an umpire? In 1922, Dinneen ejected Ruth from a game. The following day, American League president Johnson wrote Ruth a letter stating, ‘Bill Dinneen was one of the greatest pitchers the game ever produced, and…is one of the cleanest and most honorable men baseball ever fostered.’”

mullin2

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1903

17-23, 2.40 ERA, 161 K, .290, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-131 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-13

2nd Time All-Star-Mullin, despite his wildness, made his second straight All-Star team. He was Detroit’s best player, but that wasn’t going to last for long, because next year one Tyrus Raymond Cobb is going to join the team. There’s plenty of time for him later and I shudder to think how many All-Star teams he’s going to make. As for Mullin, he finished fourth in innings pitched (382 1/3). For four straight years from 1903-07, he started 40 or more games. He’s not exactly Iron Man Joe McGinnity, but he was durable and steady.

Mullin’s team, the Tigers, dropped from fifth to seventh under the guidance of Ed Barrow (32-46) and Bobby Lowe (30-44). As with most bad teams, they lacked hitting and they lacked pitching. They’ll be better in the near future.

Wikipedia says of the pitcher, “Mullin had remarkable stamina as a pitcher. He started 428 games and had 353 complete game—25th highest total in major league history. He was among the American League leaders in complete games nine straight years (1903–11) and innings pitched for eight straight years (1903–10). His career highs were 42 complete games (1904) and 382⅓ innings (1905), both Tigers team records.”

“Mullin was a powerfully built pitcher with an intimidating fastball, perhaps even more so due to his imperfect control. He hit batsmen 131 times in his career—the 19th highest total in major league history. He also threw 85 wild pitches and gave up 1238 bases on balls—45th most in major league history. He led the league in walks allowed four times (1903–06), including a career high 138 in 1905, and was among the league leaders in walks allowed 11 times.”

bernhard2

P-Bill Bernhard, Cleveland Naps, 33 Years Old

1902

23-13, 2.13 ERA, 137 K, .177, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Despite going 14-5 in 1903, Bernhard didn’t make the All-Star team that season, but he’s back this year as the Naps best player. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), ninth in ERA (2.13), and 10th in innings pitched (320 2/3). He pitched better than Detroit’s George Mullin, but Mullin was helped by his outstanding hitting. Bernhard hit like, well, a pitcher.

You know who could hit? Nap Lajoie. That’s why this team was named after him. The Naps dropped from third to fourth, with Bill Armour managing Cleveland to a 86-65 record. Despite having great hitting, led by Lajoie, and great pitching, led by Bernhard, it still finished seven-and-a-half games out. However, this was Armour’s last year with Cleveland, because as Wikipedia says, “Despite the steady improvement each year during Armour’s tenure with Cleveland, friction had developed between Armour and the team’s star and captain, Nap Lajoie. By the last half of the 1904 season, the two were reportedly ‘not on speaking terms.’ On September 8, 1904, Armour announced his resignation as manager of the Cleveland club, effective at the end of the season. The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised Armour’s efforts in that city: ‘No better judge of a ball player’s ability than Bill Armour lives, and not a small point necessary to win games escapes him. But the ability of the players to carry out his plans has, oftimes, been lacking.’” It’s always strange to me when managers or coaches with winning records are let go, but in Armour’s case, he quit.

patten

P-Casey Patten, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old

14-23, 3.07 ERA, 150 K, .127, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Hits Allowed-367

Earned Runs Allowed-122

Hit by Pitch-20

1st Time All-Star-Case Lyman “Casey” or “Pat” Patten was born on May 7, 1874 in Westport, NY. The six-foot-one, 175 pound pitcher started his Major League career as a 27-year-old pitcher for Washington in 1901. His first three seasons he had high ERAs, but two times had a winning record. This season was much the same as he had an 87 ERA+ and a losing record. Still, he was the best Washington had to offer, so he makes his first All-Star team.

If Patten’s your best player, you’re probably a bad team and, for the second straight year, the Senators finished last. They were coached by Malachi Kittridge (1-16) and Patsy Donovan (37-97) to a 38-113 record, 55-and-a-half games out of first place. They had the worst hitting and pitching in the league and that showed in the results.

SABR says of Patten, “When Case Patten filled out his player questionnaire at the request of the Hall of Fame, he declared his heritage as ‘Scotch, Irish, English, Dutch, and Indian’ – the Native American part perhaps coming from his mother Mandana’s side of the family. As far as can be determined, he was one of the first players of Native American ancestry to play in the major leagues, though one suspects that rather few people knew of his ancestry. Contemporary news accounts seem not to mention a thing about his lineage in any regard. He preceded Louis Leroy (1910) with the Red Sox but was obviously of very mixed parentage and it seems safe to assume that he was never clearly identified as Native American.”

sugden

C-Joe Sugden, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

.267, 0 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 35 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-11

Fielding % as C-.989

1st Time All-Star-Joseph “Joe” Sugden was born on July 31, 1870 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound catcher started as a backstop for Pittsburgh from 1893-97, moved to St. Louis in 1898, and then to Cleveland in 1899. His career then started up again with the formation of the American League in 1901 when he went to Chicago. He came to the Browns in 1902 and, this season, finally produced enough to make the All-Star team. Sugden played 105 games, a lot for a catcher in those days, slashing .267/.331/.302 for an OPS+ of 106.

Following this season, Sugden played with St. Louis in 1905 and then one game for Detroit in 1912 as a 41-year-old first baseman, going one-for-four. Or as Wikipedia says, “[M]anaging a basehit in his final game on May 18, 1912, as a member of the coaching staff for the replacement Tigers called into service when the team went on strike to protest the suspension of Ty Cobb.”

This was definitely not the era of great catchers. In the American League’s first four seasons, only Harry Bemis and Boileryard Clarke have been on this list more than once. Catchers needed to be of a tough breed, and they were, but even the toughest couldn’t manage to play too many games. At this point, only Charlie Bennett and Buck Ewing are in Ron’s Hall of Fame and I don’t see many backstops joining those ranks in the future. (Deacon White is also in, but he played more games at third than at catcher.)

drill

C-Lew Drill, Washington Senators/Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

.255, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 46 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-24

Double Plays Turned as C-11

1st Time All-Star-Lewis L. “Lew” Drill was born on May 9, 1877 in Browerville, MN. The five-foot-six, 186 pound catcher started in 1902 with Washington and Baltimore and then Washington again. In 1903, he gave playing for only one team a shot, catching 51 games for the Senators. In 1904, it was time to bounce around again, as he played for both Washington, for 46 games, and then Detroit, for another 51 game. He finished sixth in on-base percentage (.359), which was good for a Major League, but outstanding for a catcher. He’d play one more year for Detroit and then never play another Major League game.

Drill may be the first player on this list that was actually alive at the same time I was. I was born in 1964 and the stocky catcher lived until the Fourth of July of 1969. Can you imagine how many changes in the game Drill saw over the course of his long life?

As for his later life, Baseball Reference notes, “After his baseball career, Drill became an attorney and, as a protégé of U.S. Senator Thomas Schall (R) was appointed in 1929 to the post of United States Attorney for Minnesota. He gained notoriety when he refused to vacate his office for a Franklin Roosevelt appointee until December 1935 when Senator Schall, his sponsor, was killed in a car accident. While he held the post, however, Drill successfully prosecuted Wilbur Foshay, promoter of a holding company that underwent a spectacular crash in the Great Depression. Drill’s obituary in the New York Times incorrectly claimed he won a case against Roger Touhy, a Chicago gangster accused of kidnapped William Hamm, Jr., a millionaire St. Paul brewer. Touhy was acquitted when latent fingerprint identification showed members of the Barker-Karpis gang were responsible for the kidnapping.”

davish

1B-Harry Davis, Philadelphia Athletics, 30 Years Old

.309, 10 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-10

Power-Speed #-10.9

AB Per HR-40.4

1st Time All-Star-Harry H. “Jasper” Davis, born Harry Davis, was born on July 18, 1873 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound first baseman started with New York in 1895-96, moved to Pittsburgh in 1896-98, then Louisville in 1898. He then played for Washington in 1898-99 and then took a year off from the Majors in 1900. With the American League becoming a Major League in 1901, Davis came to Philadelphia and would be quite a slugger from them for 11 seasons.

This season, Davis led the league in homers for the first of four straight seasons. In this Deadball Era, 10 home runs were enough to top the dinger list. In 1905 and 1907, Jasper led the league with only eight. Hadn’t these guys heard of steroids? Davis also finished third in batting (.309), second in slugging (.490), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (158). According to WAR, he always contributed offensively, but didn’t do much defensively.

Wikipedia says, “Davis was born in Philadelphia. He attended Girard College. After having played the 1900 for the minor league Providence Grays, he decided to quite baseball, but Athletics manager Connie Mack made him an offer too large to refuse to return to baseball in 1901 with the Athletics. He led the American League in home runs from 1904 to 1907, one of only five players to have ever led their league for four consecutive seasons. He also hit for the cycle on July 10, 1901. He led the AL in doubles three times and the NL in triples once.”

lajoie62B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902 1903

.376, 5 HR, 102 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1904 AL Batting Title (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.6 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-9.6 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.376 (4th Time)

On-Base %-.413 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.546 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.959 (3rd Time)

Hits-208 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-302 (3rd Time)

Doubles-49 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-102 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-203 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-122 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-64 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.3 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-69 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.876 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.61 (5th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.55 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-One of the great things about players like Lajoie is not having to recap his season, because, come on, look at above! This is what happens when a great player in his prime gets to play a full season. Unfortunately, in this World Series era, Cleveland never put it all together to win the league and Lajoie would never be on baseball’s biggest stage.

Over the next few years, Lajoie would be battling for hitting supremacy with Ty Cobb, which is why he’ll only be leading in batting once more, in 1910. The difference is that Cobb was hated and Lajoie was beloved. Who would have thought that of someone named after Napoleon Bonaparte.

That isn’t to say Nap was a choirboy. Wikipedia says, “During the 1904, Lajoie received a suspension after he spat tobacco juice in an umpire’s eye. He later informally replaced Bill Armour as the team’s manager (Armour submitted his resignation on September 9 but as team captain, Lajoie had already been acting as the Naps’ field manager). After the season had concluded, Lajoie was officially named manager.”

He’s not going to make the All-Star team in 1905, due to injury. Wikipedia describes it: “Lajoie contracted sepsis from an untreated spike injury after a game in July 1905. Dye from Lajoie’s stockings entered his bloodstream and led to blood poisoning. (A rule was put into place requiring white socks to be worn underneath a player’s colored socks.) The injury worsened and Lajoie eventually came to games in a wheelchair. Amputation of the affected leg was also discussed. The injury and illness kept Lajoie out until August 28 when he began play again and returned as the team’s first baseman. Before the season was over he also sustained an injury to his ankle from a foul tip during an at bat and missed the remainder of the season (he continued to manage from the bench). He finished the season having only appeared in 65 games (a career-low, other than his rookie season when he was not called up until well after the season had begun). The Naps finished with a 76–78 record.”

murphy

2B-Danny Murphy, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

.287, 7 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 2B-46

1st Time All-Star-Daniel Francis “Danny” Murphy was born on August 11, 1876 in Philadelphia, PA. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound second baseman started with the Giants in 1900-01, before coming over to the Athletics in 1902. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.1), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.8), 10th in batting (.287), fourth in slugging (.440), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (134). He’ll be a steady player for the Athletics for quite a while.

SABR says of him, “For more than a decade, Danny Murphy was one of the best and most powerful hitters in the American League, a fine fielder with a strong arm, a savvy base runner, and a pioneer in the art of sign stealing. The consummate team player for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, he replaced one Hall of Fame second baseman, Nap Lajoie, and later stepped aside for another, Eddie Collins. To make way for Collins, Murphy moved from second base to right field in mid-career and paved the way for one of baseball’s earliest dynasties. Just 5’7″ (some sources say 5’9″) and 175 pounds, little Danny was considered a ‘long distance’ hitter…

“Though Danny was referred to as a native son throughout his career in Philadelphia, his family moved to New England when he was a youngster. He entered professional baseball at age 20 with Fall River of the New England League in 1897.” When I was writing about 1870s baseball, it seemed every other player was born in Philadelphia. Two new additions to the All-Star team, Harry Davis and Murphy were both born in the City of Brotherly Love.

bradleyb3

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 26 Years Old

1902 1903

.300, 6 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.955 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Bradley, along with Nap Lajoie, continued to give Cleveland a good one-two punch in the infield. He wasn’t good enough long enough to be one of the all-time greats, but when he was good, he was sensational. This season, Bradley finished seventh in WAR (6.6), third in WAR Position Players (6.6), third in Offensive WAR (5.7), ninth in Defensive WAR (1.5), fifth in batting (.300), eighth in slugging (.409), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Bradley fielded as well as he hit, according to SABR, which states, “When not slamming the ball with authority, Bradley fielded with genius. He was a fearless base blocker, grinning and awaiting the incoming runner from second, and mastered fielding the bunt with a one-motion barehanded scoop and toss. His long reach, ability to judge balls, and excellent arm were also noted. Throughout his career, Bradley led the league in many fielding categories at his position and twice made seven putouts in a nine-inning game–a record that has since been tied.

“Bradley was not only a dazzling fielder with clout, but also a clever and emotional player with peculiar habits of his own. Like former Cleveland shortstop Pebbly Jack Glasscock, Bradley had a mania for picking small stones out of the dust and tossing them away. He could be found whipping his head back a few times to read catcher’s signals and was adept at feigning being hit by a pitch, ranking among the league leaders in that category four times. Bradley was also an aggressive baserunner ‘who had to be carefully watched as he had the habit of stretching singles into doubles upon the slightest provocation,’ according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.”

collins6

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 34 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902 1903

.271, 3 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-156 (5th Time)

Putouts as 3B-191 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Over the long history of this great game, quality third basemen are lacking. At this point in my writings, up until this season, only one third baseman is in the ONEHOF, the Hall of Fame in which just one player is inducted per year, and only one in Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which players are automatically put in if their Baseball Reference career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is over 300. It’s the same player, Deacon White, and even he made most of his All-Star teams as a catcher not a third baseman.

So this season Collins becomes the first true third baseman to make Ron’s Hall of Fame. He also is tied for most All-Star teams made at the hot corner. (Check Cy Young’s blurb for the full list.) And if all of that wasn’t enough, he led Boston to its second straight American League crown. With a 95-59 record, it finished one-and-a-half games ahead of New York, the first of many great Boston-New York battles over the years. The Americans, led by Cy Young, had the best pitching in the league. If not for the temper tantrum of the New York Giants, they would have made their second straight World Series.

This season, Collins finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.3), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.9, the eighth straight year he’s been in the top 10 in this list). At the beginning of its history, the American League needed a strong team to anchor itself and a great manager to run that team and Collins did that for the Americans.

tannehilll

3B-Lee Tannehill, Chicago White Sox, 23 Years Old

.229, 0 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-369

Double Plays Turned as 3B-22

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.63

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.59

1st Time All-Star-Lee Ford Tannehill was born on October 26, 1880 in Dayton, KY. The five-foot-11, 170 pound third baseman started for the White Sox in 1903 and would always be known for his glove and not his stick. He was the brother of Jesse, who made the All-Star team this season for Boston. This season, Tannehill finished second in Defensive WAR (3.3) and would be in the top 10 in Defensive WAR eight of his 10 seasons. Not once during those 10 years would his OPS+ ever be above 81, which it was this season.

Jimmy Callahan (23-18) and Fielder Jones (66-47) led the White Sox to an astounding 89-65 third place finish. They had good hitting led by George Davis to help them fall just six games short of the American League crown.

Baseball Reference mentions, “Tannehill’s contract was purchased by the White Sox in 1903, and he was installed at shortstop to replace George Davis, who had a contract dispute with the team. When Davis returned to the club in 1904, Tannehill was moved to third base. At both positions, he gained a reputation for excellent defense. As a third baseman, he led the American League in assists four times.

“Despite his impressive fielding, Tannehill struggled greatly at the plate. As the ‘Hitless Wonders’ White Sox won the AL pennant in 1906, he batted just .183 in 116 games. After going just 1 for 9 in the first three games of that year’s World Series, skipper Fielder Jones removed him from the team’s lineup.”

Davis G 4025.99 PDSS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 33 Years Old, 1904 ONEHOF Inductee

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901 1902

.252, 1 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.4

Assists-514

Putouts as SS-347 (2nd Time)

Assists as SS-514

Double Plays Turned as SS-62 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.84 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.66 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Davis only played in four games in 1903. You can read his 1902 blurb to see why. However, he’s back and now he’s in the ONEHOF. It is a Hall of Fame I created which allows just the best player who’s not currently in the ONEHOF to be inducted. This year, it’s the great George Davis. And he’s not done making All-Star teams yet. Next year’s nominees for the ONEHOF are Hardy Richardson, Bill Dahlen, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, and Joe McGinnity.

This season, Davis finished sixth in WAR (7.2), second in WAR Position Players (7.2), sixth in Offensive WAR (5.0), first in Defensive WAR (3.4), and fourth in steals (32).

Davis’ Career WAR is 84.3, so the question might be asked why it took until 1998 for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. So we might examine on whether he would get elected if we didn’t have fancy stats. Well, he hit .300 or higher nine years in a row. As a shortstop, he drove in over 100 runs three times, including a league-leading 135 in 1897. At the toughest position on the diamond, Davis finished just 335 hits short of 3000.

It seems incredible to me he didn’t get elected until 1998, but even stranger, he didn’t ever get a vote. It’s possible he was being compared to Honus Wagner and lost votes that way, but really? Not one vote?

parent3

SS-Freddy Parent, Boston Americans, 28 Years Old

1901 1903

.291, 6 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed-63

Def. Games as SS-155 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as SS-63

3rd Time All-Star-Parent won his second straight American League crown as one of the league’s most consistent and best shortstops. He finished 10th in WAR (6.2), fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.4), fourth in Defensive WAR (2.2), and seventh in batting (.291). This was a great era for shortstops. SABR says of this season, “The next year Parent again enjoyed an outstanding season, batting .291 with 85 runs scored and six home runs, tied for fourth best in the league. But he was simply a passive observer in his most famous at-bat of the season, when 41-game-winner Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders unleashed a wild pitch in the ninth inning on the last day of the season to bring in the run that won the pennant for the Americans. Forgotten to most, Parent followed this most famous wild pitch with a base hit that would have scored the run anyway.”

I remember in high school when I first started reading Bill James how he turned the world of stats upside down. For instance, this is the first of three straight seasons in which Parent is going to lead the American League in errors. Yet he’s one of the 1900s best shortstops. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can’t make errors on balls you don’t try for and Parent was all over the place on the field. He’s one of five shortstops in the top ten of Defensive WAR. It’s worth an error once in a while to get an out.

wallace6

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 30 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902 1903

.275, 2 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as SS-.947

6th Time All-Star-I have been playing slo-pitch softball for many years now. Over all that time, I have only been part of one league-winning team. I like winning as much as anybody, but I still enjoy playing. It makes me think of Hall of Fame shortstop Wallace. He played 25 years and never made a World Series, but the dazzling gloveman continued to toil day-after-day, year-after-year. It’s not easy playing for losers and Wallace rarely played for teams who could even sniff a title. After finishing second with the Browns in 1902, he’d never get closer than fourth place for the rest of his long career.

This season, Wallace finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.7), seventh in Offensive WAR (5.0), and sixth in Defensive WAR (1.8). He wasn’t just a no-bat, all-glove shortstop, he could do it all. He couldn’t hit like Honus Wagner, but the Flying Dutchman couldn’t field like Wallace.

Wallace studied fielding as noted by SABR, which states, “It was on defense, though, that Bobby really earned his salary. He led the AL in assists twice and fielding percentage three times. Wallace’s defensive prowess resulted not only from his physical skills but also from his mental approach to playing shortstop. ‘As more speed afoot was constantly demanded for big league ball, I noticed the many infield bounders which the runner beat to first only by the thinnest fractions of a second,’ noted Bobby. ‘I also noted that the old-time three-phase movement, fielding a ball, coming erect for a toss and throwing to first wouldn’t do on certain hits with fast men…it was plain that the stop and toss had to be combined into a continuous movement.’”

elberfeld3

SS-Kid Elberfeld, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1901 1903

.263, 2 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Elberfeld only played 90 games in 1903, but still made the All-Star team and this year he played only 122, but he’s still here. This season, he had his best year ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (5.4) and third in Defensive WAR (2.8). He slashed .263/.337/.328 for an OPS+ of 106. His hitting wasn’t what it once was, but his defense was better than ever.

Some notes from SABR: “Over the next three years with New York, Elberfeld solidified his reputation as one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball. From 1904 to 1906, he had the highest batting (.275) and on-base-plus-slugging (.688) percentages of any shortstop in the American League, and second in the majors only to Honus Wagner. But injuries and suspensions continued to dog him; the Highlanders might have won pennants in 1904 and 1906 had Elberfeld not missed 89 games during those years.

“Kid Elberfeld, called ‘the dirtiest, scrappiest, most pestiferous, most rantankerous [sic], most rambunctious ball player that ever stood on spikes’ for his vicious arguments on the diamond, patterned his combative style after that of his favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles of the mid-1890s. He believed, like those Oriole players, that an umpire should be kept in his place, and that what happened behind an arbiter’s back was none of his business. But, when Elberfeld kept his volatile temper in check, he was also an ‘ideal infielder–full of ginger.’ Called by George Stallings one of the two best shortstops in baseball, his throwing arm was ‘cyclonic,’ and, though only 5’7,” 158 lbs., he was fearless in turning the double play.”

stahl3

CF-Chick Stahl, Boston Americans, 31 Years Old

1899 1901

.290, 3 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-19

3rd Time All-Star-It’s ironic that Charles Stahl was nicknamed Chick, because he had a lot of chicks according to the write-ups about him on the net. Check that out for yourself, I can’t do everything for you. He didn’t make the All-Star team in 1902 or 1903, but is back this year. Stahl finished fifth in Offensive WAR (5.3), ninth in batting (.290), fourth in on-base percentage (.366), sixth in slugging (.416), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). It was his best offensive season ever and he was part of his second straight American League crown and his fourth title altogether.

SABR says, “In April 1903 Stahl injured his leg while sliding, and was limited to 77 games and a .274 average. Nevertheless, the Americans easily won the pennant. In the World Series against Pittsburgh, which Boston won in eight games, he was the only Boston player to hit .300, as he banged out 10 hits, including three triples, in 33 at-bats.

“Stahl’s health improved in 1904 and the outfielder returned to his old form with a .290 batting average, 27 doubles, and a league-leading 19 triples, as the Americans captured a second consecutive pennant. Stahl also showcased his glove during Cy Young’s perfect game on May 5 against Philadelphia. After the game Young expressed his gratitude for Stahl’s play on a sinking line drive off the bat of Ollie Pickering ‘that Chick caught around his knees after a long run from center.’” Stahl is going to have a tragic death, but I think he’s making another All-Star team, so I’m rolling the dice and waiting until then.

flick5RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1898 1900 1901 1903

.306, 6 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-38

5th Time All-Star-No doubt the Hall of Fame can be frustrating. There are people not there that should be and people there that shouldn’t. However, one thing I’ve noticed in the project is how often the Hall gets it right. Oh, it’s not perfect, but what human organization is, besides the DMV, of course. Flick absolutely deserves the Hall of Fame and he made Cooperstown in 1963 and will make mine next season most likely. This season, Flick finished eighth in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR Position Players (6.5), second in Offensive WAR (6.2), fourth in batting (.306), third in on-base percentage (.371), third in slugging (.449), first in steals (38), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (159).

Flick’s hometown is trying to give him an honor. According to the Bedford Historical Society, “Baseball fans and those with a soft spot for all things Bedford Ohio have an opportunity to help recognize Baseball Hall of Fame Great, Elmer Flick. The hometown hero has a spot in the athletic hall of fame at Bedford High and a ball field named in his honor, now a committee of local citizens would like to recognize Flick with a bronze statue. Funds are being raised and stored in an account of the Bedford Historical Society.” So Bedfordians, start writing those checks.

What a lineup Cleveland had! You would have to face the incredible Nap Lajoie and the stick of Flick. They just couldn’t put it all together and couldn’t get past the Americans or the Athletics and, once Ty Cobb joined the league, they’d also be behind Detroit.

keeler6

RF-Willie Keeler, New York  Highlanders, 32 Years Old

1895 1897 1899 1900 1902

.343, 2 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Singles-162 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Keeler, a player whose size makes Jose Altuve look like Andre the Giant, made Ron’s Hall of Fame this season by making his sixth All-Star team. It’s the first time he’s made it for the American League. This season, Keeler finished 10th in WAR Position Players (5.0), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.9), second in batting (.343), second in on-base percentage (.390), ninth in slugging (.409), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (147). His skill set was limited to hitting for average and hitting singles, but he did it as well as anyone in his time.

After this season, Wee Willie will play five more years of the AL New York squad and finish up with the National League Giants in 1910. Altogether he will have a career in which he batted .341 with 33 home runs, 810 RBI, and a 54.0 WAR. Most likely, the little man won’t make any more All-Star teams.

As for his end, Wikipedia says, “Keeler suffered from tuberculosis and endocarditis for the last five years of his life. By late 1922, his condition had worsened and it was doubtful whether he would live into the new year. Seriously ill by New Year’s Eve, he heard bells and sirens in the streets when the new year arrived. Keeler sat up and said to his brother, ‘You see, the new year is here and so am I—still.’ He enjoyed a drink and a smoke, then said that he was ready for a long sleep. A short time later, Keeler died; he was 50. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.”

1904 National League All-Star Team

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

P-Kid Nichols, STL

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Jack Taylor, STL

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Jack Harper, CIN

P-Togie Pittinger, BSN

P-Jack Cronin, BRO

C-Mike Grady, STL

C-Frank Bowerman, NYG

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Dan McGann, NYG

1B-Jake Beckley, STL

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, NYG

LF-Sam Mertes, NYG

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

CF-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

 

mcginnity7

P-Joe McGinnity, New York Giants, 33 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902N 1902A 1903

35-8, 1.61 ERA, 144 K, .176, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1904 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-9.5 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.8 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.61

Wins-35 (4th Time)

Win-Loss %-.814 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.963

Games Pitched-51 (3rd Time)

Saves-5

Innings Pitched-408 (4th Time)

Shutouts-9

Batters Faced-1,588 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-168

Adj. Pitching Runs-52 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-51 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-127

Errors Committed as P-13 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-What a monstrous season for McGinnity and it should have certainly given him his first chance to pitch in a World Series. With the Fall Classic being played in 1903, it looked like all tensions were resolved between the Senior and Junior Circuits. But that’s only if you don’t take into account New York manager John McGraw.

There is a great article at This Great Game about the cancellation of the 1904 World Series, the last one that would be cancelled until 1994. While it was greed which robbed the fans of the Series in the 90s, it was pride that killed it this season. For background, understand how much McGraw and New York John Brush hated the fact New York now had an American League squad. Here’s the rest:

Regardless of who won the American League pennant, both the Highlanders and Americans had agreed that the champions would once again challenge the NL victors—long since determined to be the New York Giants—to a second World Series. The call went out to the office of Giants owner John Brush. But he wouldn’t have it.

“Loathing the possibility that he would play a World Series against the very team he and McGraw once tried to ruin—and now felt was infiltrating their territory—Brush publicly refused any request to play any AL winner, stating that the Giants were not interested in playing anyone from a ‘minor league,’ and that they were ‘content to rest upon their laurels.’ Both the fans and the press protested.” I urge you to read the whole article.

nichols12P-Kid Nichols, St. Louis Cardinals, 34 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901

21-13, 2.02 ERA, 134 K, .156, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

12th Time All-Star-Who takes two years off of the Major Leagues at the peak of his career? Kid Nichols did as he went off to coach in the minor leagues. If you’d like more info on that, click on the 1901 link above. When Nichols left, he was 31-years-old and now he’s 34 and the kid can still pitch. For the first time in his career, he’s not pitching for Boston. According to SABR, “In the end, the Western League surrendered Kansas City to the much more successful American Association, but Nichols ended up in a better situation for 1904 when a year-old rumor became reality, and he was named to manage the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Kid Nichols took over a team that had finished dead last under Patsy Donovan in 1903, with a record of 43-94. After he pitched the Cards to victory on June 4 in his return to Boston, where fans greeted him warmly, his new team left town with a record of 18-18. Toward the end of the season, Nichols had steered the Cardinals to a record of 75-73, but they lost their final games to finish 75-79, still a considerable improvement in one year. He fared even better as a pitcher, with a record of 21-13 and a career-best ERA of 2.02.”

This will probably be the last All-Star team for Nichols and SABR (along with just plain old stats) states, “Kid Nichols won 361 games, lost only 208, and saved 17. He finished 95% of his career starts and was the youngest pitcher to reach 300 career victories.” He made the Hall of Fame in 1949 and died four years later at the age of 83.

hahn6

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

16-18, 2.06 ERA, 98 K, .172, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.058

6th Time All-Star-At the end of the 1904 season, Hahn was just 25 years old and already had 122 career victories. It’s not impossible to imagine he could have had 300 easily because he still should have been entering the prime of his career. However, this would be the last season he’d pitch a full season again, retiring from Major League baseball after two partial seasons with the Reds (1905) and the Highlanders (1906). He’s going to fall short of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and mine also. But for a stretch of time around the beginning of the 20th Century, there weren’t too many pitchers better than Noodles.

The Reds, still coached by Joe Kelley, moved from fourth to third place with an 88-65 record. It’s not like they had a chance against the juggernaut Giants, but it was still a good season. They arguably had the best pitching in the league as Hahn and the rest of the staff had to pitch in a hitters’ paradise called Palace of the Fans.

As for this season, Noodles finished fourth in WAR (6.5), third in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), ninth in ERA (2.06), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (142). After his career, according to Wikipedia, “Hahn retired in 1906 due to arm trouble. Using his education as a veterinary surgeon, he took a position as a government meat inspector in Cincinnati.

“He was never a mine of information about the game, and was even reluctant to discuss his own career. He died in Candler, North Carolina at the age of 80. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1963.”

mathewson4P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

33-12, 2.03 ERA, 212 K, .226, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-212 (2nd Time)

Games Started-46

4th Time All-Star-There aren’t too many one-two punches in baseball history like the Giants had with Joe McGinnity and Big Six. It’s hard to believe there was a time in his career Mathewson was the second best pitcher on his team, but, at least for now, it’s true. It was still a great season as he won 30 games for the second straight season. He finished fifth in WAR (6.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5), sixth in ERA (2.03), third in innings pitched (367 2/3), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (133). It’s incredible, but a 33-12 season with a 2.03 ERA and a league-leading 212 strikeouts might be Mathewson’s 11th best season ever.

Where did the nickname “Big Six” come from? According to SABR, “In 1901, his first full season in the majors, Mathewson pitched a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 15 and went 20-17 with a 2.41 ERA for the seventh-place Giants. New York fans started calling their ace ‘The Big Six.’ Matty thought it was because of his height, but the nickname probably originated when sportswriter Sam Crane compared him to New York City’s Big Six Fire Company, ‘the fastest to put out the fire.’”

More from SABR: “Aside from his pitching achievements, he was the greatest all-around hero of the Deadball Era, a handsome, college-educated man who lifted the rowdy world of baseball to gentlemanliness. Matty was the basis, many say, for the idealized athlete Frank Merriwell, an inspiration to many authors over the years, and the motivation for an Off-Broadway play based on his life and writings.”

weimer2

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903

20-14, 1.91 ERA, 177 K, .183, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Tornado Jake might have had a pretty good career had he started sooner in the Majors. As it is, he’s already made two All-Star teams in his two Major League seasons. This year, Weimer finished seventh in WAR (5.8), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), fourth in ERA (1.91), eighth in innings pitched (307), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (139).

Chicago was one of the best teams of the 1900s, but kept running into better teams like the Pirates and Giants. It was New York who beat them out this season as the Cubs finished second with a 93-60 record. That’s a good record for the Frank Selee-led team, but it still was 13 games behind John McGraw’s New York squad. Chicago might have had a chance with better hitting, because with Weimer leading the way, it had some of the best pitching in the league.

We look at Weimer’s 1.91 ERA and are blown away because of the time in which we live. As I write this in 2017, it’s a record season for homers and strikeouts, with pitchers averaging an ERA of 4.36 in the National League. In 1904, the NL ERA was 2.73, the first of six straight seasons in which that mark was under 3.00. In 1894, the teams in the Senior Circuit averaged 7.38 runs per game. By 1902, this was down to 3.98 and in 1904, it was 3.91. It’s going to get ever lower, so as this list goes on, pitching stats are going to be mind-blowing, but it’s important to remember those stats are a by-product of their time, just as in the 1960s.

taylorj2

P-Jack Taylor, St. Louis Cardinals, 30 Years Old

1902

20-19, 2.22 ERA, 103 K, .211, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Complete Games-39

2nd Time All-Star-After being the best pitcher in the league in 1902, Taylor again pitched for Chicago in 1903, before he and Larry McLean were traded to the Cards for Mordecai Brown and Jack O’Neill. Taylor now got to pitch under the tutelage of manager Kid Nichols and had another good year, finishing eighth in WAR (5.7), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), and fourth in innings pitched (352). He didn’t have a good enough career to make the Hall of Fame, but his stretch from 1902-through-1906 was some of the best pitching in baseball.

Wikipedia says, “In 1904, Taylor set a major league record by pitching 39 consecutive complete games. Taylor actually threw 187 consecutive complete games between June 1901 and August 1906, but this streak was interrupted by 15 additional relief appearances. Thus Taylor appeared in 202 consecutive games without being relieved himself.”

Oh, and for the second straight write-up of Taylor (see 1902), there are questions about his character. SABR writes, “Responding to jeers from the stands over his poor performance in the city series, Jack stated, ‘Why should I have won? I got $100 from Hart for winning and I got $500 for losing.’ At that point Hart went public with his charges of dishonesty, but no immediate action was taken against Taylor. In July, however, Jack was accused of throwing a game against the Pirates. This time Garry Herrmann, chairman of the National Commission, declared that Taylor was ‘not an honest ball player,’ but he was allowed to continue playing and finished the 1904 season with a 20-19 record and a league-leading 39 complete games.”

leever3

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1900 1903

18-11, 2.17 ERA, 63 K, .263, 1 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-After Pittsburgh lost the 1903 World Series, mainly due to Leever’s inability to pitch due to a late season injury, it wouldn’t have been inconceivable that the Pirates would keep on winning. Yet 1904 became the first year since the American League’s existence in 1901 that Pittsburgh didn’t win the National League. Coached by Fred Clarke, the Pirates dropped to fourth, finishing 87-66. Honus Wagner gave the team great hitting, but its pitching was some of the worst in the league.

That wasn’t because of Leever, however. He finished 10th in WAR (5.4) and ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7). Along with his good pitching, Leever also handled the bat well, slashing .263/.305/.354 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 101. It was easily his best hitting season ever as his lifetime OPS+ was 36.

I mentioned Leever’s injury earlier, but some in that time said he was just a wimp. SABR states, “After the Series, Leever was accused by some writers of cowardice or, even worse, of giving less than his best effort in the second game. Ralph S. Davis, the Pittsburgh correspondent for The Sporting News, felt compelled to write a strong article in support of Leever, who was apparently still in considerable pain several weeks after the Series ended: ‘The charge that Leever “laid” down is absurd in the extreme. There is not a more honest man in the game than Leever.’ When Sam reported to camp the following spring, he was not yet completely recovered from his injury.”

harper

P-Jack Harper, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

23-9, 2.30 ERA, 125 K, .159, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 66 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-12

1st Time All-Star-Charles William “Jack” Harper was born on April 2, 1878 in Galloway, PA. The six-foot, 178 pound pitcher started with Cleveland in its disastrous year of 1899, then moved to St. Louis in 1900-01. After that Harper jumped to the American League and became a full time pitcher for the Browns in 1902. He came back to the National League and joined the Reds in 1903 and had his best season ever this year. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7) and had his only season in which his Adjusted ERA+ was over 100 (127).

Harper is the second of three Jacks who are going to be All-Star pitchers in the league, but his is unusual. There are people named Jack, of course, and it’s also a nickname for John for some reason. Yet Harper’s given name wasn’t Jack or John, but Charles, yet he still ended up Jack.

His career had a sad end. According to Wikipedia, “On May 30, 1904, Harper hit Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Chance three times in one game, the last of which knocked Chance out cold. By 1906, Chance had become the manager of the Cubs, and Harper was struggling on the mound. Chance traded for Harper, cut his salary by two-thirds, and sat him on the bench for the entire season.

                “At that time, organized baseball had the reserve clause; Harper had to pitch for the Cubs or no team at all. He never played professional baseball again.” In all honesty, it’s more than likely he never would have pitched even without Chance’s pettiness.

pittinger2

P-Togie Pittinger, Boston Beaneaters, 32 Years Old

1902

15-21, 2.66 ERA, 146 K, .107, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-144 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.027

2nd Time All-Star-After a disappointing 1903 season, Pittinger is back on the All-Star team, having a decent season for a struggling team. He still was wild, leading the National League in walks for the third straight season. Yet he did manage to fix his problem of giving up homers. He allowed a league-leading 12 home runs in 1903, but allowed only one in 335 1/3 innings this year. This season, Pittinger finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.0) and sixth in innings pitched.

Boston, again coached by Al Buckenberger, dropped from sixth to seventh with a 55-98 record. It had arguably the worst hitting and pitching in the league. It would be Buckenberger’s last year managing.

After this season, Pittinger went to Philadelphia from 1905-07 and ended his career. He’s probably done making All-Star teams though he had a 23-14 record in 1905. He’d finish his career with a 115-113 record and a lifetime 3.10 ERA.

SABR says, “In the end, Pittinger stayed with Boston but neither party was happy with the situation. Tragically, Pittinger’s oldest daughter died during the year. It had not been a good year for the pitcher.

“The 1904 season turned out to be even more contentious than 1903. Boston was unable to trade Pittinger. He refused to consider the few teams (Louisville among them) that showed interest. There were rumors that Boston would release Pittinger.

“Boston co-owner Arthur H. Soden didn’t help Pittinger’s trade value when he weighed in on the subject before spring training. ‘Pittinger is a good pitcher when he can be kept in good humor,’ Soden told the Boston Journal, ‘But when things go against him, he becomes petulant and acts like a spoiled child. Pitchers of that kind are hard to handle.’”

cronin

P-Jack Cronin, Brooklyn Superbas, 30 Years Old

12-23, 2.70 ERA, 110 K, .157, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 36 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-10

1st Time All-Star-John J. “Jack” Cronin was born on May 26, 1874 in West New Brighton, NY. The six-foot, 200 pound pitcher started by pitching two games for Brooklyn in 1895. His next stint in the Majors was with Pittsburgh in 1898 and Cincinnati in 1899. After that, he pitched in the American League for Detroit in 1901-02. Cronin actually pitched for three teams in ’02, with the Tigers, Baltimore, and the National League Giants, with whom he also pitched in 1903. He would end his career this season with his only All-Star season ever and his best season ever. Cronin tossed 307 innings.

Of course, the reason Cronin is on the team is Brooklyn needed a representative. It wasn’t the worst team in the league, though it dropped from fifth to sixth. Ned Hanlon guided a team with no hitting to a 56-97 finish. The Hall of Fame manager would never have another team finish above .500.

About the end of his career, Wikipedia says, “After the 1903 season, on December 12, 1903, the Giants traded Cronin with Charlie Babb and $6,000 ($159,933 in current dollar terms) to the Brooklyn Superbas for Bill Dahlen. Cronin pitched for the Superbas in 1904. Released after the season, Cronin returned to minor league baseball. He signed with the Providence Clamdiggers, later known as the Providence Grays, of the Eastern League in 1905, and pitched for them through 1910. He then joined the Buffalo Bisons. In 1912, Cronin pitched for Reading of the outlaw United States Baseball League.”

grady

C-Mike Grady, St. Louis Cardinals, 34 Years Old

.313, 5 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Michael William “Mike” Grady was born on Christmas Eve Eve in Kennett Square, PA. The five-foot-11, 190 pound catcher started with Philadelphia from 1894-97, moved to St. Louis to finish off ’97, then played for the Giants from 1898-1900. In 1901, he jumped to the American League and bashed nine home runs as a first baseman for Washington. This season, he was back in the Major Leagues and had his best season ever and one of the best seasons of this era for a backstop. Grady finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.3), fourth in batting (.313), seventh in on-base percentage (.376), second in slugging (.474), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (167). It would have been much more of a standout season had he played more than 101 of the Cardinals 154 games.

SABR says of him, “A loud, abrupt, and loquacious character known for shooting from the lip, Grady, nicknamed ‘Michael Angelo,’ was a lavish spender who, according to writer Clifford Ammerman, ‘obviously enjoyed his status as a major league baseball player and always created quite a stir when he visited his home town … or for that matter, when in the company of baseball fans in big league cities. The crowd followed him.’ Grady was noted for his numerous arguments with umpires, which earned him at least 16 major league ejections. He was also an alcoholic who drank his way out of the big leagues by 1902, only to return sober two years later. After his retirement, Grady was credited with helping a young Herb Pennock develop as a pitcher.”

bowerman

C-Frank Bowerman, New York Giants, 35 Years Old

.232, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 45 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-7.02

Range Factor/Game as C-6.44 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Frank Eugene “Mike” Bowerman was born on December 5, 1868 in Romeo, MI. The six-foot-two, 190 pound catcher played with Brooklyn (1895-98) and Pittsburgh (1898-99) before coming to the Giants in 1900 and this year was part of his first pennant winning team. It wasn’t a great year, but there weren’t a lot of great catchers at this time in the NL. Bowerman slashed .232/.288/.318 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 84. He might have another All-Star team coming.

Wikipedia gives the highlights, stating, “While always playing in the shadows of Wilbert Robinson and Roger Bresnahan, he was a solid player who could play any position in the diamond, and he even pitched an inning for the Giants in 1904. He was also the first to catch Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson.

“Bowerman was known for having a short fuse, as he repeatedly got into fights with players, umpires, and fans. In one such case in 1903, he punched a heckler in the face and got arrested. He also started a fight with manager Fred Clarke while with the Pirates and gave him a black eye.”

This Great Game has another story of Bowerman’s temper, saying, “Occasionally, McGraw’s aggressive, sometimes combative influence got out of hand. During a spring training game in Mobile, Alabama, an umpire was beat unconsciousThe Giants quickly split town before Mobile authorities could arrest them. after angry Giants players ganged up on him; in a regular season game at Cincinnati, catcher Frank Bowerman went charging after a fan in the stands.”

chance2

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1903

.310, 6 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team last season, Chance is now in a great stretch of his career. It’s going to last about five years, but it’s most likely not going to be enough to put him in my Hall of Fame. This season, Husk finished sixth in WAR (5.9), second in WAR Position Players (5.9), second in Offensive WAR (4.6), 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), sixth in batting (.310), fourth in on-base percentage (.382), fifth in slugging (.430), fourth in stolen bases (42), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (150). Just a great all-around season.

SABR says of the oft-injured first baseman, “One can only wonder what kind of numbers Chance would have put up as a player had he avoided injury or had the modern training, rehabilitation and medical facilities that today’s players have at their disposal. Frank Chance was rewarded for his contributions to the game of baseball, both as a player and a manager, in 1946 when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, by the Committee on Baseball Veterans. Honored in the same class were former teammates Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers. Poetic justice.”

On May 30, 2004, according to National Baseball Congress, “At the Palace of the Fans in Cincinnati, Cubs first baseman Frank Chance is hit by a pitch five times during a doubleheader. In the first game of the twin bill, the future Hall of Famer briefly loses consciousness when he is hit on the head.”

mcgann2

1B-Dan McGann, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1898

.286, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-18 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.991 (4th Time)

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been six years since McGann made an All-Star team and he’s bounced around quite a bit since then. He made the All-Star team for Baltimore in 1898, then played for Brooklyn and Washington in 1899. In 1900 and 1901, he played for the Cardinals, before playing in the American League for the only time in his 12-year career when McGann went to Baltimore in 1902. Before that season was over, he came to the Giants, where he would remain through 1907. This season, McGann finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.4) and fourth in steals (42).

As for this year, Wikipedia says, “McGann and some of his Giants teammates threatened to quit the team due to the treatment of Brush, now the Giants owner, for allegedly going back on a promise to provide the Giants with a monetary bonus for having the Giants finish in the top three of the NL and a share of the gate receipts from exhibition games, in which they were paid $56.35 ($1,502 in current dollar terms), though Brush allegedly had made over $200,000 ($5,331,111 in current dollar terms). McGann and Jack Warner were rumored to join McGinnity in an outlaw league in California.

“McGann stole 42 bases in 1904, finishing fourth in the NL. He stole five bases on May 27, 1904, setting an NL record. McGann’s record stood until Davey Lopes stole five bases in a game in 1974, and Otis Nixon stole six in a game in 1991. McGann led the team with a .286 batting average and six home runs that season. Though the Giants won the NL pennant in 1904, they refused to compete in the 1904 World Series. Brush and McGraw refused to face the AL champion Boston Pilgrims, following their altercations with Johnson.”

beckley9

1B-Jake Beckley, St. Louis Cardinals, 36 Years Old

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894 1900 1901 1902

.325, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,526 (6th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,526 (6th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.20 (2nd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Beckley made his ninth and possibly last All-Star team after being purchased by the Cardinals from the Reds before this season. He would play three more years for St. Louis before ending his career in 1907. In his nine seasons, Beckley was the top first baseman four times, the second best three times, the third best once, and the fourth best once. There were a lot of good first basemen in his time, but, for the most part, he missed the era of Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, and Cap Anson. On a side note, Brouthers actually played two games this year at the age of 46 and went oh-for-five.

This season, Beckley finished eighth in WAR (4.3), third in Offensive WAR (4.5), third in batting (.325), eighth in on-base percentage (.375), 10th in slugging (.403), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (145).

From Beckley’s Hall of Fame page: “Sold to the Cardinals before the 1904 season, Beckley left the big leagues following the 1907 season but continued to play and manage in the minor leagues. He finished his big league career with 2,934 hits, 1,578 RBI, 1,602 runs scored and a .308 batting average.

“In the field, Beckley recorded 23,731 putouts at first base – still the all-time record – and trails only Eddie Murray (by 33 games) on the all-time list for games as a first baseman. When Murray passed Beckley in 1994, the Beckley’s turn-of-the-century accomplishments became news once again.

“Beckley died on June 25, 1918. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.”

ritchey3

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1902 1903

.263, 0 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star teams. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

Def. Games as 2B-156 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Unlike the American League, which had the incomparable Nap Lajoie, the National League wasn’t filled with great second basemen. It’s what allowed Ritchey to make his third straight All-Star team. Ritchey slashed .263/.338/.347 for an OPS+ of 110. Because of the sparse hitting era in which played, that slash line was a little above average. If he had those numbers in 1894, it would be far below league standards. Ritchey probably has one or two more All-Star teams left. He had a decent, though certainly not Hall of Fame, career.

This is as good of place as any to talk about Barney Dreyfuss, the owner of the Pirates. From anb.org, “In late November, Dreyfuss arranged an agreement with Captain William W. Kerr, the principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, to acquire stock in, and control of, this National League team. By December of 1899, Dreyfuss, along with Harry Pulliam, who had been a part owner of the Colonels, bought a half interest in the Pirates from Kerr and became the team’s president. Moreover, on 7 December the shrewd Dreyfuss sold to Kerr, who still retained controlling interest in the Pirates, Dreyfuss’s best players from his former Louisville team for $25,000. These players included the eminent hitter Honus Wagner, the manager and outfielder Fred Clarke, the infielders Claude Ritchey and Tommy Leach, and the pitchers ‘Deacon’ Phillippe and Rube Waddell. After a quarrel during a stockholders’ meeting in January 1901, Dreyfuss became the prime owner of the Pirates, purchasing the remaining stock from Kerr for $70,000 and thus becoming, at age thirty-five, the youngest owner in major-league baseball.” Did you own a baseball team when you were 35?

evers

2B-Johnny Evers, Chicago Cubs, 22 Years Old

.265, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-518

Putouts as 2B-381

Assists as 2B-518

Errors Committed as 2B-54

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.07

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.91

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Johnny” or “Crab” or “Trojan” Evers was born on July 21, 1881 in Troy, NY. He is the last of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination to make the All-Star team, but might be the best player of the three. Crab wasn’t a big man, by any means. He stood only five-foot-nine and weighed in at a puny 125 pounds. Has there ever been a smaller player? (Don’t say Eddie Gaedel, you smart-aleck!) Evers started with the Cubs in 1902 and then became the full-time second baseman in 1903. This season, Evers finished third in Defensive WAR (1.9) and it would be his defense which would carry him throughout his career.

Here’s the beginning of his career, according to Wikipedia, which states, “Evers made his MLB debut with the Cubs on September 1 at shortstop, as Selee moved Joe Tinker from shortstop to third base. Only three players in the National League (NL) were younger than Evers: Jim St. VrainJimmy Sebring, and Lave Winham. Three days later, Selee returned Tinker to shortstop and assigned Evers to second base. In his month-long tryout with the Cubs, Evers batted .222 without recording an extra-base hit and played inconsistent defense. However, Lowe’s injury did not properly heal by spring training in 1903, allowing Evers to win the starting job for the 1903 season. Lowe recovered during the 1903 season, but Evers’ strong play made Lowe expendable; Evers finished third in the NL in fielding percentage among second basemen (.937), and finished fifth in assists (245) and putouts (306). The Cubs sold Lowe to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season. Evers played 152 games in the 1904 season. Defensively, his 518 assists and 381 putouts led the NL, though his 54 errors led all NL second basemen.”

devlina

3B-Art Devlin, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.281, 1 HR, 66 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 63 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Arthur McArthur “Art” Devlin was born on October 16, 1879 in Washington, DC. His family obviously loved the name Arthur. The six-foot, 175 pound third baseman had an impressive rookie year, being the best at the hot corner in the National League. He finished fourth in WAR Position Players (4.8), seventh in Offensive WAR (3.7), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6), ninth in on-base percentage (.371), and 10th in steals (33). Most people would take that for a rookie.

SABR says, “Devlin joined the Giants in 1904 to a less than rousing welcome, with teammates and opponents often dismissing him as ‘McGraw’s college boy.’ He made his debut in Brooklyn on April 14, going hitless but handling four chances at third in support of Christy Mathewson’s 7-1 victory. Sporting Life noted: ‘Devlin played third base in place of [Roger] Bresnahan, who was injured in the game with Columbia the previous day.’

“Devlin’s hitless debut belies what was the distinguishing ‘fact’ about his career-that he hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run in his first major league at-bat. Devlin’s career day came on April 22 against Philadelphia in the Polo Grounds: four hits in five trips, four runs, four flawless chances, and the grand slam off John Brackenridge. Sporting Life solemnly declared, ‘The batting of Devlin was a feature, he hitting the ball for a home run with the bases full in the fourth inning.’ It was his only home run of the season and one of just ten for his career.”

leach2

3B-Tommy Leach, Pittburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1902

.257, 2 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-146

Putouts as 3B-212

Assists as 3B-371 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-60 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.11

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.99 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Leach missed making the All-Star team in 1903 despite a career-high seven home runs. He’s back this year, though, after finishing fourth in Defensive WAR (1.9). It was his glove that carried him this season since his hitting waned. Wee Tommy’s slash line was .257/.316/.335 for an OPS+ of 99. His hitting would be up and down for the rest of his career.

Since he didn’t make the All-Star team in 1903, let’s talk about Leach’s World Series performance in that year. Wikipedia says, “With stars Wagner, Leach and player–manager Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh appeared the more formidable of the two. And indeed the Pirates jumped to a three to one series lead. Leach had the first World Series hit, a triple off Cy Young, and scored the first ever World Series run in game one with Honus Wagner batting him in. Leach finished the game with two singles and two triples as the Pirates won, seven to three. In game four, Leach again starred, getting two hits, including a two-run triple and knocking in three runs, with the Pirates winning a close game five to four.

“…Despite the loss, Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss could feel his vision of a World Series had been a success, since the public had come out in large numbers to watch the games with over 100,000 paying spectators, the games had been hard fought with the players on both teams giving it their all, and the Pirates had proven to be a mighty foe with stars such as Tommy Leach proving their worth on the field. Leach led both teams in RBIs in the series with seven and finished second on the Pirates in batting average for the series. A commonly cited anecdote, one which Leach recanted to Lawrence Ritter, is the Boston Royal Rooters constant chanting of the popular song ‘Tessie’ threw Honus Wagner off his game, though it is more likely that Wagner played hurt during the series.”

wagner6

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

.349, 4 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1904 NL Batting Title (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.3 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.5 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.349 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.423

Slugging %-.520 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-255 (2nd Time)

Doubles-44 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-53 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-188 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-107 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-54 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.856 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-On this year-to-year All-Star team, there is a scramble between all of the good players in a league to make it. Some of the players I write about infrequently as they pop up here every other year or even fewer than that. And that’s normal. This has always been the pattern of baseball, because it’s a sport that’s so hard to maintain your top abilities. When I write up Wagner every year and compile that stats in which he led, I’m blown away every time, because maintaining this kind of skill yearly is not the norm in the sport. People like Cy Young and Wagner are aberrations from the normal career path of a player.

How did Wagner get his name? The story isn’t that interesting, but Wikipedia says, “Wagner was one of nine children. As a child, he was called Hans by his mother, which later evolved into Honus. ‘Hans’ was also an alternate nickname during his major league career. Wagner dropped out of school at age 12 to help his father and brothers in the coal mines. In their free time, he and his brothers played sandlot baseball and developed their skills to such an extent that three of his brothers went on to become professionals as well.” Which is why it’s pronounced HONN-us, not HONE-us.

SABR says of Wagner’s time away from baseball: “Honus’s offseasons had been matters of routine. Tending to gain weight, he stayed in shape by fishing, hunting, and taking up the new sport of basketball, playing on several local teams.”

dahlen8

SS-Bill Dahlen, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903

.268, 2 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.1 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-80

Assists as SS-494 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-61 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-It is rare a player of Dahlen’s talent gets shuffled around, especially in this era of the reserved clause, in which teams could hold onto their top players indefinitely. Yet Dahlen, below only the great Honus Wagner as a shortstop in his time, is now on this third team, the Giants. This might be the clichéd match made in heaven as “Bad Bill,” who had a reputation for rowdiness, was now managed by Little Napoleon, John McGraw, who preached winning at all cost.

How did Dahlen end up in New York? According to SABR, “After the 1903 season, Brooklyn’s team owner, Charles Ebbets, tired of dealing with it, sent him to the New York Giants in exchange for shortstop Charlie Babb and pitcher Jack Cronin. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle explained, ‘In the first place, Dahlen, while a great player, never was an observer of discipline. He looked upon rules from the standpoint that they were made only to be broken, and while this has in no way affected his playing ability, still the injury to the team in a disciplinary way has been great.’

“Dahlen also refused a salary cut, thereby ensuring a trade. Ebbets reinforced, ‘The reasons for the trade were given at length by the Eagle yesterday and I have no more to add. I will say that I hope Dahlen will have every success in his new place.’” Bad Bill was a great player, but very difficult to tolerate for long stretches of time. The perfect player for the Giants.

mertes

LF-Sam Mertes, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

.276, 4 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Blair “Sam” or “Sandow” Mertes (pronounced MUR-teez) was born on August 6, 1872 in San Francisco, CA. The five-foot-10 185 pound leftfielder started in 1896 at the age of 23 for the Phillies, who already had their share of outfielders. He was back in the Majors by 1898 for the Cubs, with whom he remained through 1900. With the American League’s startup in 1901, it opened up a door for Mertes to go to the White Sox for a couple of seasons, before ending up back in the National League with the Giants in 1903, a year in which he led the league in doubles (32) and RBI (104).

This season, Mertes finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.1) and second in steals (46). After this season, he will remain with New York through 1906, before being traded mid-season and ending his career with the Cardinals that same year.

Mertes hit for the cycle on October 4, 1904, in the first game of a doubleheader. The Giants forfeited the second game according to SABR, which states, “About two thousand spectators had come to the ballpark, and during the second game, there was ‘a display of rowdyism which might have developed into a good-sized riot but for the quick manner in which a handful of policemen handled the ringleader of a much-wrought-up mob.’ However, the real problem turned out to be the Giants players, who forced the umpire to cancel the game and give the victory to the Cardinals via forfeit.”

thomas3

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1899 1903

.290, 3 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-102 (5th Time)

Times on Base-251 (5th Time)

Putouts as OF-321 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Thomas is the only member of the Phillies to make the All-Star team as he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (4.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.2), ninth in batting (.290), second in on-base percentage (.416), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (137). In today’s game, his ability to draw walks would make him much more popular than in the time in which he played.

Hugh Duffy took over the reins in the City of Brotherly Love and wasn’t loved. The Phillies dropped from seventh to eighth this season, finishing with a 52-100 record. While their hitting was acceptable, their pitching was the worst in the league. In a league with a total ERA of 2.73, Philadelphia’s was 3.39. That was in the Baker Bowl, a pitchers’ park at that time.

SABR says, “Roy’s parents were primarily of Welsh descent. They raised him in a strict Christian household, and he continued to observe the Sabbath even as a professional ballplayer. (In 1904-05, for example, Phillies manager Hugh Duffy accumulated most of his playing time on Sundays while spelling Thomas.)

“A slap hitter and exceptional bunter who specialized in fouling off pitches and drawing walks, Roy Thomas was an exemplary practitioner of ‘inside baseball,’ but his skill package would have been useful to teams of any era. Playing mostly center field for his hometown Philadelphia Phillies, the left-handed hitter and thrower was nearly the equal of Phillies legends Billy Hamilton and Richie Ashburn both in ability to reach base as leadoff man and as guardian of the middle pasture.”

seymour3

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1899 1903

.313, 5 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.52

3rd Time All-Star-Seymour unfortunately didn’t start getting into a groove until he moved to the outfield later in his career, because otherwise he’d be a sure Hall of Fame candidate, especially if every season was like the one upcoming in 1905. You’ll have to wait for that and just be satisfied with his 1904 season in which he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6), ninth in Offensive WAR (3.6), fifth in batting (.313), fourth in slugging (.439), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (135).

Of his outstanding two-way career, SABR says, “If a young, successful major league pitcher had decided to become an outfielder in 2001, it would have been news. And if he had hit above .300 for the next five straight years, culminating in 2005 by winning the league’s batting crown with a .377 average, he would have graced magazine covers. Finally, if upon his retirement in 2010, he had accumulated 1700 hits and generated a lifetime batting average of .303 to go along with his sixty-plus pitching victories, writers would be salivating at the opportunity to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

“A century ago there was just a player who collected 1723 hits and became a lifetime .303 hitter after winning 61 games as a major league pitcher. His name was James Bentley ‘Cy’ Seymour, perhaps the greatest forgotten name of baseball.” Even in regards to this website, Seymour is one of the rare players to make the All-Star team as a pitcher and a hitter.

bresnahan2

CF-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 25 Years Old

1903

.284, 5 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Bresnahan is the eighth Giant to make the All-Star team so you can see why they dominated the National League this season. New York had two All-Star pitchers and a player at every position except for second base and rightfield. Manager John McGraw astutely judged talent and coached with a win-at-all-costs attitude. It’s too bad this awesome team didn’t get to play in the World Series, but it’d rectify that next season.

The Duke of Tralee finished fifth in on-base percentage (.381), seventh in slugging (.410), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). Next year, he’ll be moving to his more well-known position of catcher. Wikipedia says of him, “He was the seventh child of Michael and Mary Bresnahan, who had immigrated to the United States from Tralee, Ireland. Bresnahan used to claim that he was also from Tralee, and early in his life, he earned the nickname ‘The Duke of Tralee’” SABR has a different story, however, stating, “Early in his baseball career he acquired the title ‘Duke of Tralee’ due to a frequently repeated inaccuracy that his birthplace was Tralee, Ireland; in truth his parents had immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1870.”

More from SABR: “Roger developed his enthusiasm for baseball while attending Catholic grade school in Toledo. In 1895 the stocky 16-year-old got his first paying baseball job with a semipro team from Manistee, Michigan. The following year, after graduating from Toledo’s Central High School, Roger became a full-fledged professional with Lima of the Ohio State League, playing mostly catcher but also occasionally pitching.”

1903 American League All-Star Team

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-Willie Sudhoff, SLB

P-Doc White, CHW

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Highball Wilson, WSH

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-John Anderson, SLB

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, NYY

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

SS-Freddy Parent, BOS

SS-Kid Elberfeld, DET/NYY

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-Billy Lush, DET

CF-Jimmy Barrett, DET

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Danny Green, CHW

 

young13P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 36 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902

28-9, 2.08 ERA, 176 K, .321, 1 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.6 (6th Time)

Wins-28 (5th Time)

Win-Loss %-.757 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.975 (11th Time)

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-341 2/3 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-7 (6th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.757 (8th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-34 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.7 (6th Time)

13th Time All-Star-There comes a point where you just about run out of things to say about a player, especially if that player is Cy Young and he has made his 13th consecutive All-Star team. Fortunately for me (and you, my dear readers), the modern World Series started this season and Cy Young was a part of it. He only had a second half championship to his name before this year, so this was his first full year league championship. During the season, Young finished first in WAR (8.6), third in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), second in ERA (2.08), first in innings pitched (341 2/3), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (145).

In the World Series, Young was overshadowed by his teammate Bill Dinneen, but he was still sensational, finishing 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA. His only struggle was in the first game as Cyclone gave up seven runs, though only three of them were earned. Add his first World Championship to Young’s impressive list of achievements.

And, of course, he also has more All-Star appearances as a pitcher than anyone. Here’s the list of leaders by position:

P- Cy Young (13)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

2B-Cupid Childs, Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee (7)

3B-Denny Lyons, Ezra Sutton, Ned Williamson (6)

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

Of course, the sad part is Ed Delahanty died during the season by falling off a train by Niagara Falls. You can read the full story at his 1902 blurb.

waddell2

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1902

24-7, 2.44 ERA, 302 K, .122, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.8

Strikeouts per 9 IP-8.389 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-302 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34

Wild Pitches-9

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.87 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Waddell was the best pitcher in the American League this season, though he finished below Cy Young in WAR due to Young’s impressive hitting. His 302 strikeouts were the most since baseball moved the mound back to 60 feet, six inches in 1893. That record would last a whole year. Any guesses to who breaks it? You’re reading about him!

This season, Rube finished second in WAR (8.0), first in WAR for Pitchers (8.8), and fourth in innings pitched (324). Believe it or not, Waddell’s 2.44 ERA didn’t even rank in the top 10. As for his team, the Athletics, Connie Mack’s squad finished in second place, 14-and-a-half games out of first. The team was middle of the road when it came to hitting and pitching as The Tall Tactician did a masterful job of coaching.

Of course, it was Waddell who may have kept the Athletics from winning the crown. According to SABR, “However, even Mack could not always control Waddell. In 1903, Mack suspended him for the last month of the season for missing practice and pitching for semi-pro teams. Mack would attribute the Athletics’ failure to win the AL pennant that year and missing the chance to play in the World Series to Waddell’s absence.” It also kept him from an extraordinary year in Ks.  In a different SABR article, it says, “He entered this world on Friday the 13th and exited on April Fools Day. In the 37 intervening years, Rube Waddell struck out more batters, frustrated more managers and attracted more fans than any pitcher of his era.”

donovan2

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1901

17-16, 2.29 ERA, 187 K, .242, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-34

2nd Time All-Star-Since Donovan last made the All-Star team in 1901, he pitched one more year for Brooklyn before jumping to the Tigers before this season. He pitched very similar to how he pitched in 1902, but this season it was good enough to make the list. Wild Bill had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (7.4), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9), ninth in ERA (2.29), sixth in innings pitched (307), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (126).

His Tigers rose from seventh to fifth this season under the guidance of Ed Barrow. The team finished 65-71 while playing in three home ballparks – Bennett Park, Ramona Park, and Armory Park. The team finished third in OPS+ and its two years from having its greatest player ever. It also ranked third in ERA+. It seems the team should have finished higher.

Here’s a snippet from a story at Detroit Athletic Co.: “When he was pitching in Connecticut in the minor leagues, young Bill Donovan walked nine consecutive batters. After that embarrassing lack of control he was never again just Bill – he was ‘Wild Bill’.

“The nickname grew to mean much more. Records were not kept of such things, but it’s likely that Donovan was ejected from more games in his career than any other pitcher. He rankled umpires with his jawing and gesticulations on the hill, and as a result, the men in blue often requested that he leave the field before he had finished his job.” What a character!

plank3

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1901 1902

23-16, 2.38 ERA, 176 K, .187, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-43

Games Started-40

Batters Faced-1,363

Def. Games as P-43

3rd Time All-Star-Fidgety Gettysburg Eddie pitched himself to his third consecutive All-Star team and helping Philadelphia to a second place finish. Plank finished fifth in WAR (7.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (7.2), 10th in ERA (2.38), second in innings pitched (336), and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128). In the early 1900s, there were a lot of good pitchers to be sure, though it helped run scoring was down during this time.

According to SABR, Plank was the Jon Lester of his day, though for a different reason. It states, “Plank rarely threw to a base to hold a runner close. Sad Sam Jones, good enough to win 229 games over a long career, told Lawrence Ritter, ‘I once heard Eddie Plank say, “There are only so many pitches in this old arm, and I don’t believe in wasting them throwing to first base.” And he rarely did. Made sense to me. I was just a young punk, and I figured if it was good enough for Plank it should be good enough for me.’

“Somebody that annoying can hang around for only one reason if he’s a winner. Plank was exactly that, winning 326 games, the most by any lefthander until Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton came along. His 69 shutouts remain the standard for southpaws. Despite all his accomplishments, however, it was Eddie Plank’s fate to be second banana. He had some great seasons and many good ones, but there always seemed to be someone having a better one.”

dinneen5

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 27 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

21-13, 2.26 ERA, 148 K, .160, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2

5th Time All-Star-Dinneen was the first World Series hero and, if they voted for an MVP, it certainly would have been Big Bill. He started four games, completing them all, and going 3-1 in Series including winning the clinching game over the great Deacon Phillippe. In 35 WS innings, he allowed 29 hits and eight runs, none of them earned, for a 2.06 ERA.  He threw 11 strikeouts a game after Philippe tossed 10. In the regular season, Dinneen finished eighth in WAR (6.5), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), seventh in ERA (2.26), 10th in innings pitched (299), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (134). He still has at least one more All-Star season left, but will start declining after that.

Or as SABR repeats, “Before Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson were hurling October masterpieces, Bill Dinneen set the standard for World Series excellence. In the 1903 World Series, the hard-throwing right-hander won three games for the Boston Americans against the Pittsburgh Pirates, including the first two shutouts in World Series history. For the Series, ‘Big Bill’ struck out 28 batters in 35 innings, including Honus Wagner to end the Series. Dinneen’s triumph in the inaugural World Series proved to be the highlight in a 12-year major league career which saw the right-hander win 170 games, but lose 177.”

Just so you understand, the two saves Dinneen registered are retroactively credited. They were used as far back as 1952, but didn’t become an official statistic until 1969. It was Major League Baseball’s first official statistic added after runs batted in was started in 1920.

sudhoff

P-Willie Sudhoff, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

21-15, 2.27 ERA, 104 K, .182, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John William “Wee Willie” Sudhoff was born on September 17, 1874 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-seven, 165 pound pitcher started with St. Louis in 1897-98, moved to Cleveland in 1899, before heading back to St. Louis in 1899-1901. Before the 1902 season, Sudhoff jumped to the American League and this season had his best year ever, finishing seventh in WAR (6.5), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), eighth in ERA (2.27), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (128). He would pitch for the Browns in 1904-05 and then finish his career with Washington in 1906.

The Browns had a big fall from their second place finish in 1902, dropping to sixth this year. Jimmy McAleer coached the team to a 65-74 record. St. Louis struggled with the bat, but, led by Sudhoff, had decent pitching.

Wikipedia’s wrap-up of Sudhoff’s career says, “Predictably, Sudhoff created a controversy when he jumped from the National League Cardinals to the American League Browns, becoming the first to play for all St. Louis clubs. At 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), 165 lb he was a consistent pitcher who averaged 247 innings and 24 complete games in eight full seasons, with career-highs of 315 and 35 in 1898. He was at his best in 1903, going 21–15 with a 2.27 earned run average and five shutouts. His highlights include a pitching duel with Chief Bender of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1904, during ten innings, without either team scoring. The game ended in a 0–0 tie after being suspended by poor light conditions.”

whited2

P-Doc White, Chicago White Sox, 24 Years Old

1902

17-16, 2.13 ERA, 114 K, .202, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-White, like so many others, jumped from the National League to the American League this season, ending up with the White Sox, where he’ll wrap up his career. He finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), fourth in ERA (2.13), eighth in innings pitched (300), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (132). He’ll be a steady pitcher for the next few years.

As for his team, the White Sox fell from fourth to seventh as Jimmy Callahan took over managing duties from Clark Griffith. Chicago went 60-77 and, despite having White, had poor pitching.

SABR says of the pitcher, “After the 1901 season, White returned to Georgetown to finish his studies. He received his dentistry degree in 1902 and returned to Washington after the season to open a dental practice. However, in the off-season he became the object of a bidding war between Philadelphia and Chicago in the nascent American League. Chicago offered White a raise to jump to the new league, which he quickly accepted. Philadelphia then attempted to keep White by offering him three times what Chicago offered. Before he could jump back, a peace settlement was made between the two leagues, and as part of that it was decided that White should go to Chicago. In his first season, White won 17 games to lead the staff, and his 2.13 ERA ranked fourth in the league. A highlight came on September 6 when he pitched a 10 inning one hitter against Cleveland. The college educated White also earned the respect of some of his rough and tumble teammates by continuing to rank in the league leaders in hit batsmen. After the season, he again returned to his dental practice, which had now earned him the nickname ‘Doc’.”

mullin

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

19-15, 2.25 ERA, 170 K, .278, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2

Bases on Balls-106

Putouts as P-38

Assists as P-108

1st Time All-Star-“Wabash George” Joseph Mullin was born on Independence Day, 1880 in Toledo, OH. The five-foot-11, 188 pound pitcher had a decent rookie year with Detroit in 1902, but put it all together this season. He finished 10th in WAR (6.0), seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.8), sixth in ERA (2.25), fifth in innings pitched (320 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (128). It was quite a sophomore year and he has some All-Star teams yet to come. He had his share of control problems as he would lead the American League in walks from 1903-06.

Wikipedia states, “Born in Toledo, Ohio, Mullin played semi-pro baseball in Wabash, Indiana, earning the nickname ‘Wabash George.’ In 1901, at age 20, Mullin signed with both the Brooklyn Superbas and Detroit Tigers. Mullin chose the Tigers, wishing to stay closer to his home in Indiana. Mullin played his first twelve seasons with the Tigers.

“In his rookie season, 1902, Mullin won 13 games (and lost 16) for the 7th place Tigers. The following season, Mullin won 19 and reduced his ERA to 2.25 (an Adjusted ERA+ of 129). In 1903, Mullin was among the American League leaders with 6 shutouts (2nd in AL), 170 strikeouts (5th in AL), and 41 games (2nd in AL).

“’The pitching prowess and significant achievements of George Mullin seem to have faded away on the brittle pages of baseball history. Not even in the Motor City … is the name of George Mullin, the burly right-hander from Wabash, Indiana, mentioned.’ (Warren Wilbert, ‘What Makes an Elite Pitcher?’ (McFarland 2003), p. 25).”

chesbro3

P-Jack Chesbro, New York Highlanders, 29 Years Old

1901 1902

21-15, 2.77 ERA, 147 K, .185, 2 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-If you’re going to be a successful league, you need to have a team in the Big Apple. The first two years of its existence, the American League didn’t. However, this year begins the history of baseball’s most successful team, the New York Yankees, or the Highlanders, as they’re known for the first stretch of their existence. It would be awhile before this team would win a pennant, but once they start, they very rarely stop. This season, Clark Griffith managed the team to a fourth place 72-62 record. It had poor hitting and poor pitching, but still fared well.

As for Chesbro, he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.7) and third in innings pitched (324 2/3). Next season will be his most famous as the New York machine begins its powerful work.

More on the future Yankees from Wikipedia: “Nicknamed the Orioles, the team began playing in 1901 and was managed and partly owned by John McGraw. During the 1902 season, McGraw feuded with Johnson and secretly jumped to the Giants. In the middle of the season, the Giants, aided and abetted by McGraw, gained controlling interest of the Orioles and began raiding it for players, until the AL stepped in and took control of the team. In January 1903, a ‘peace conference’ was held between the two leagues to settle disputes and try to coexist. At the conference, Johnson requested that an AL team be put in New York, to play alongside the NL’s Giants. It was put to a vote, and 15 of the 16 major league owners agreed on it, with only John T. Brush of the Giants opposing. The Orioles’ new owners, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery, found a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants, and Baltimore’s team moved to New York.”

wilson

P-Highball Wilson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

7-18, 3.31 ERA, 56 K, .200, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 63 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Howard Paul “Highball” Wilson was born on August 9, 1878 in Philadelphia. PA. The five-foot-nine, 164 pound lefty started by pitching one game for Cleveland in 1899. He didn’t play again the Majors until 1902, when he pitched 13 games for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. This season was his best year ever as he is Washington’s only representative on the All-Star team. After this year, he played one more for the Senators, pitching three games, and his Major League career was over.

Well, if Wilson is your best player, your team is in sad straits indeed and Washington was bad. Tom Loftus coached them to a 41-96 record as the team finished last. They couldn’t hit and they couldn’t pitch and they dropped from a sixth place finish in 1902. Loftus had coached nine seasons and compiled a 454-580 record and now, his coaching days are done.

What Wilson is most famous for is his part in the death of Ed Delahanty. According to Hardball Times, “However, on July 1, just one day after pledging to be good, Delahanty got drunk.

“The next day was his last. It was a travel day for the squad, and they were on a train heading through upstate New York. Delahanty, half out of his mind, chases teammate Highball Wilson around the train with a knife.

“That was it. Delahanty’s poor behavior earned him an ejection from the train at 10:45 PM. He was in the Niagara Falls region at the time and tried to walk across the International Bridge to Canada. A security guard told him to go somewhere else because he wasn’t supposed to be there. Surly and agitated, Delahanty said, ‘I don’t care whether I’m in Canada or dead.’” He most likely committed suicide at that point.

bemis2

C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1902

.261, 1 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as C-.988

2nd Time All-Star-In a time of very few great catchers, Bemis now made the American League All-Star team for the second straight season. His stats weren’t great, but he put together a balanced season of offense and defense and that’s good enough for me! He slashed .261/.295/.354 for an Adjusted OPS+ 95, down from his .312/.366/.404 season of the 1902.

Bill Armour managed the team from a fifth place to a third place season this year and, oh yeah, it was now named after the popular player Nap Lajoie. I wonder if Naps got less complaints than Indians? Anyway, Lajoie helped the team be one of the best hitting teams, but believe it or not, despite not having any All-Star pitchers, Cleveland also did well from the mound. Addie Joss would have made the All-Star team if the Senators didn’t have to have a representative. Wikipedia says, “To begin the 1903 season, the club changed its name from the Bronchos to the Naps in honor of Lajoie after a readers’ poll result was released by the Cleveland Press. (The team was officially the Blues in their inaugural AL season but changed to the Bronchos for the 1902 season.)”

It should be noted team nicknames are an unofficial deal at this time. Most of them were given to teams by newspapers (remember those?) or by fan polls as with the Naps. How wise is it to name a team after a short sleep. It would seem to give those journalists more ammunition when the team did poorly.

schrecongost2

C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1899

.255, 3 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-367 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-8.23 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as C-8.05 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-When Schrecongost last made the All-Star team in 1899, he made as the best player on baseball’s worst team ever, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. After that, he took a year off from the Majors before the American League gave him new life and he caught for Boston in 1901. In 1902, he started for Cleveland, before coming to Philadelphia. He was always more of a defensive catcher than an offensive one and it was the same this year. At the plate, Schrecongost slashed .255/.285/.353 for an OPS+ of 87. His offensive year in 1904 would be worse, actually dreadful.

Wikipedia says, “He may be best remembered for being Rube Waddell‘s primary catcher and roommate for the duration of Waddell’s Philadelphia Athletic years. Waddell’s unpredictable and bizarre nature famously led to Ossee insisting on a ‘no crackers in bed’ clause added to Waddell’s contract. Players at the time would bunk together while on the road, and while Ossee was one of the few who could generally handle Rube’s antics, even he couldn’t get past having to sleep with food in the bed.”

And from SABR, more on the Waddell-Schrecongost relationship: “Schreck had an unusual style of catching one-handed, and somehow managed to deal quite well with Waddell’s unpredictable pitches. The eccentric pitcher didn’t always throw the ball as signaled. Teammate Harry Davis wrote of Schreck after Waddell and the catcher had died, ‘There are very few catchers today who can catch one ball if they are crossed in this manner, particularly with the gloved hand alone, as Schreck invariably did.’”

anderson2

1B-John Anderson, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1901

.284, 2 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 1B-71 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.65

2nd Time All-Star-When Milwaukee moved to St. Louis in 1902, Anderson followed it and continued to be a productive first baseman in a time where there weren’t many of them in the American League. As the position which historically has the best hitting, there weren’t a lot of great batsmen at this time. Honest John slashed .284/.312/.385 for an OPS+ of 111 and also had decent fielding. According to Defensive WAR, this was the only season he was in the positives in that category.

Wikipedia tells of a mistake made by him: “On September 24, 1903, Anderson tried to steal second base when the base was already occupied. This particular mistake was often referred to as a ‘John Anderson play’ in the early part of the century.” Wait a minute, are you telling me others made this same error? Anyway, here’s SABR’s description of the play: “With the count full on St. Louis hitter Bobby Wallace, Anderson broke with the pitch, Wallace struck out and the catcher threw to first. The first baseman tagged Anderson, completing the double play. The press reported that Anderson had attempted to steal an already-occupied second base, mistaking his aggressive lead for an attempted steal. Unfortunately, this non-attempted steal became Anderson’s most famous play.”

Apparently, according to SABR, he had many monikers: “He was known as ‘Honest John,’ because he rarely protested umpires’ calls, ‘Long John,’ because of his 6’2″ frame, the ‘Swedish Apollo,’ for his Scandinavian roots, handsome appearance and muscular build, and also ‘Big John,’ in case anyone had forgotten that he was one of the tallest players in the game.” He was actually Norwegian not Swedish and the Norwegian Apollo would have been an awesome nickname!

lajoie5

2B-Nap Lajoie, Cleveland Naps, 28 Years Old

1897 1900 1901 1902

.344, 7 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1903 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.0 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.2 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.344 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.518 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.896 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-169 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-40 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.3 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.796 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-366 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-61 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.40 (4th Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.30 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-There are baseball players and there are BASEBALL PLAYERS and Nap Lajoie was the latter. When someone shines above everyone around, it’s easy to see. There’s a combined aggressiveness and calmness to the man if that makes sense. Was that what Lajoie looked like on field? My guess is yes. There’s something about the best of the best that just easily stands out. You look at the above stats and are amazed, but it’s a typical season for the great Napoleon.

He was such a good player and had such a personality that his nickname was Cleveland’s nickname. The city actually did that later in their history when the Cleveland football team was named after Coach Paul Brown. It seems the Indians would have less controversy over their nickname now if they would have just stayed the Naps.

SABR says of Lajoie, “The first superstar in American League history, Napoleon Lajoie combined graceful, effortless fielding with powerful, fearsome hitting to become one of the greatest all-around players of the Deadball Era, and one of the best second basemen of all time. At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, Lajoie possessed an unusually large physique for his time, yet when manning the keystone sack he was wonderfully quick on his feet, threw like chain lightning, and went over the ground like a deer. ‘Lajoie glides toward the ball,’ noted the New York Press, ‘[and] gathers it in nonchalantly, as if picking fruit….’ During his 21-year career, Lajoie led the league in putouts five times, assists three times, double plays five times, and fielding percentage four times.”

williams3

2B-Jimmy Williams, New York Highlanders, 26 Years Old

1899 1901

.267, 3 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 2B-438

Fielding % as 2B-.957

3rd Time All-Star-Williams continued his habit of making the All-Star team every other year. He started out so outstanding and he’d never hit that peak again, but he’s still one of the best second sackers in the game. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3) and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.7). He and Jack Chesbro were the first New York Yankees superstars. As SABR says, “A cursory glance of Jimmy Williams’ baseball life does not adequately illustrate the exciting path he strode through twenty years of minor and major league play. His final statistics reflect a slightly above average player but the reality behind those numbers is a marvelous career, speckled with historic participation and great achievements, including the posting of one possibly unbreakable record. Considering the teams he played for and when, if anyone had written of Williams’ diamond life, the author could have used the title statesman Dean Acheson’s chose for his wonderful 1969 memoir, ‘Present at the Creation.’

“Williams was the subject of a lengthy John Gruber ‘where are they now’ story in the Pittsburgh Sunday Post on February 20, 1927, that said he entered the insurance business after retiring from the Millers. He remained in friendly Minneapolis for the rest of his life and according to the city directory Jimmy really worked as a city health inspector for many years. In the early 1930s he was inked by the Cincinnati Reds as a area scout and coach for six seasons. In April 1934, a Reds-sponsored ‘baseball school’ opened in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for about 300 students. It caught on and Williams was one of the instructors for several years. The annual week-long session lasted for two decades. The 1936 version had 550 enrollees at Nicollet Park in Minneapolis.”

bradleyb2

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Naps, 25 Years Old

1902

.313, 6 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-136 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-299

Errors Committed as 3B-37

2nd Time All-Star-Bradley made his second straight All-Star team and if weren’t for his more famous and talented teammate, Nap Lajoie, he’d possibly be the best position player in the league. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (7.1), second in WAR Position Players (7.1), second in Offensive WAR (6.0), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6), fifth in batting (.313), second in slugging (.496), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (153). He’s slowly going to star declining, but he’s not done yet. He also hit for the cycle on September 24 in a 12-2 win over Washington.

SABR says of him, “From 1901 to 1904 Bill Bradley was arguably the best young player in the American League. Wielding a heavy bat he nicknamed Big Bennie, the 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander was one of the junior circuit’s most feared hitters, becoming the first player to homer in four straight games in 1902, and batting .300 or better three consecutive years. A natural power hitter who was out of place in the run-deprived Deadball Era, Bradley was not a fan of the ‘inside’ strategies championed by many of the game’s leading figures. ‘Brilliant coaching makes me tired,’ he once bluntly declared. ‘This idea…that coachers, teamwork, and the so-called inside ball … makes or unmakes a team, is foolishness.’ Yet Bradley was no simple-minded basher; he was admired throughout the league for his aggressive base running and brilliant fielding at third base, where he led the league in double plays three times and fielding percentage four times.”

collins5

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 33 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902

.296, 5 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-178 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-19 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.37 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.952 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Another highlight was added to the career of Collins, as he managed the first modern World Series victor. Boston easily won the league crown with a 91-47 record, beating the second place Athletics by 14-and-a-half games. The Americans had the best hitting in the league led by shortstop Freddy Parent and the best pitching led by the great Cy Young. Their foe would be a stacked Pittsburgh Pirates team, led by pitcher Sam Leever and shortstop Honus Wagner. The problem for the Steel City team was injuries, as Leever was hurt — though he gamely still pitched — along with other pitchers. Deacon Phillippe ended up starting five of the eight games for Pittsburgh in the best-of-nine series. Collins was able to use his one-two combination of Young and  Bill Dinneen to put away the Buccos. The manager hit .250 in the series with one double, two triples, and three of the team’s five stolen bases.

As for Collins’ regular season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3), third in Offensive WAR (4.4), seventh in Defensive WAR (1.4), and eighth in slugging (.448). He continued to be a great all-around player along with being a heady manager. SABR wraps it all up, stating, “The initial third baseman enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jimmy Collins was an outstanding fielder and above-average hitter during his 14-year major-league career in the Deadball Era. As the first manager of the Boston franchise in the American League, Collins gained widespread acclaim when he led the team to consecutive pennants in 1903 and 1904 and victory in the inaugural 1903 World Series.”

parent2

SS-Freddy Parent, Boston Americans, 27 Years Old

1901

.304, 4 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 57 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.4

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

2nd Time All-Star-Because this was the first year of the modern World Series, there are lot of firsts in this list and Parent was the first shortstop of the first team to win the Series. He had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (6.4), third in WAR Position Players (6.4), fourth in Offensive War (5.0), first in Defensive WAR (2.4), ninth in batting (.304), and ninth in slugging (.441). That’s very good hitting for a shortstop, though not at the level of his World Series counterpart Honus Wagner.

In the Series, Parent continued his marvelous season, hitting .281 with three triples. He led the team in runs scored with eight as Boston won the Series, 5-3.

Baseball Reference says, “His two best seasons were in 1903 and 1904, and not coincidentally, Boston won the pennant both years. He hit .304 with 17 triples (tying Jimmy Collins for 4th in the AL) and 80 RBI in 1903, outshining the great (but hobbled) Honus Wagner in the World Series.”

More on Parent from SABR: Sparkplug shortstop Freddy Parent, the ‘Flying Frenchman,’ led the Boston Americans with MVP-type seasons to the first modern World Series championship in 1903 and the American League pennant in 1904. An early American League star, Parent (along with teammate Buck Freeman) was its first ironman, playing in 413 consecutive games from the April 26, 1901, opener to September 25, 1903, surprising considering his aggressive playing style.” As you can tell from the write-ups, Parent is going to have another great season, but he’s going to start to decline after that.

elberfeld2

SS-Kid Elberfeld, Detroit Tigers/New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

1901

.301, 0 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 38 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-15

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.69 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Fiery Kid Elberfeld, The Tabasco Kid, continued to play well though he didn’t make the All-Star last season. This season, he started for Detroit, playing 35 games for them and hitting .341. SABR then says of his trade, “Near the end of the 1902 season, New York Giants’ owner John T. Brush and manager John McGraw attempted to beef up their last place team by signing several Detroit players, and reportedly signed Elberfeld to a two-year contract for $4500 per year. McGraw’s personality appealed to Elberfeld. ‘McGraw always liked me,’ Elberfeld said. ‘I played his aggressive style of ball. And I would have liked to have played for him.” But the 1903 peace agreement returned Elberfeld to Detroit, and, when Edward Barrow was suddenly named to replace suicide-victim Win Mercer as new Detroit manager, Barrow inherited an unhappy shortstop. Though Elberfeld started fast, batting .431 after the first three weeks of the season, his hitting soon tailed off and his fielding was shoddy. On June 2, Barrow fined and suspended him for ‘loaferish conduct,’ suspecting Elberfeld of playing poorly to force a trade to the St. Louis Browns. Eight days later, Barrow did trade him, not to St. Louis, but to the New York Highlanders.

“The move nearly derailed the nascent peace treaty between the leagues. Brush, opposed to peace in the first place, viewed the trade as an attempt by AL President Ban Johnson to siphon fans from the Giants. Brush badgered NL President Harry Pulliam into declaring that Johnson had violated the ‘spirit if not the letter’ of the treaty and persuaded Pulliam to let McGraw use George Davis–then the subject of a dispute between the Giants and the Chicago White Sox–at shortstop. The case dragged on for weeks.”

wallace5

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902

.266, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists-468 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-468 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.68 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Shortstop is an interesting position, one that lauds defense as much as, if not more than, offense. Ozzie Smith was an okay hitter, but that’s not why anybody remembers him. In this era, Bobby Wallace and Honus Wagner are the two best shortstops in their respective leagues, but the Flying Dutchman does it with the bat and is more famous, while Wallace toils in obscurity, garnering fame through his glove. It also didn’t help that Wallace mainly played on bad teams. As his Hall of Fame pages says, “Because of his smart style of play and his remarkable defensive skills, Wallace was able to play the game until he was 44 years old. After taking the field for a total of 25 seasons, he holds the record for the longest career in baseball without ever making an appearance at the World Series.” Here’s the thing that amazes me, the Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1953 despite not having WAR or all of the other high-falutin’ defensive metrics we have nowadays.

This season, Wallace finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), as per usual. He would finish in the top 10 in that category 13 times and he’s not done making All-Star teams.

In a book titled Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Little-Known Members of the Hall of Fame by David L. Feitz, it says, “The fact that Wallace was a shortstop may have assisted his candidacy. At the time of his election, there were only four shortstops in the Hall of Fame.”

lush

LF-Billy Lush, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

.274, 1 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-34

1st Time All-Star-William Lucas “Billy” Lush was born on November 10, 1873 in Bridgeport, CT. He started as an outfielder for Washington from 1895-97. He didn’t play again in the Majors until 1901, when he played for the Beaneaters from 1901-02. Before this season, he signed as a free agent for Detroit and helped them have the best outfield in the American League. All three positions made the All-Star team. Lush finished fourth in on-base percentage (.379), walking 70 times.

After this season, Lush would play one year for Cleveland in 1904 and his career would be over at the age of 30.

Wikipedia details his after baseball life in surprisingly lengthy detail. Here’s part of it: “After his playing career ended, Lush became a coach of college baseball and college basketball. He held coaching positions at Yale UniversityColumbia UniversityFordham University, the United States Naval AcademySt. John’s University, the University of Baltimore and Trinity College, Hartford.

“Lush began work as Yale’s baseball coach in 1905, with Walter Camp serving as the team’s advisory coach. In his first year, Lush led Yale to its first baseball championship in six years. In February 1906, Yale engaged him for a term of three years. He remained in charge of the Yale baseball team in 1906 and 1907, but he was replaced by Tad Jones in 1908. Yale decided not to retain Lush when the school decided to cease using professional coaches. As Lush had another year remaining on his contract, Yale paid him in full for his services.

“In the 1930s, Lush moved to Ossining, New York, where he coached athletic teams and assisted in the medical department at Sing Sing prison. He later operated a tea room and guest house in Ossining. In August 1951, Lush died at a convalescent home in Hawthorne, New York at age 77. He was survived by his second wife, Lillian Goodwin Lush, and six children.”

barrett

CF-Jimmy Barrett, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

.315, 2 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.407

Bases on Balls-74

Times on Base-243

Assists as OF-19 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Erigena “Jimmy” Barrett was born on March 28, 1875 in Athol, MA, the same day (though not year) as my sister-in-law. He started his career with Cincinnati in 1899-1900, before jumping to Detroit in the American League’s inaugural season. This season, Barrett finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.9), fourth in batting (.315), first in on-base percentage (.407), 10th in steals (27), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (144). You would think he’s still got an impressive career left, but unfortunately in 1905, his position will be taken by someone you may know, Ty Cobb.

Here’s some highlights from Wikipedia detailing the rest of his career: “During the 1903 and 1904 seasons, Barrett clashed with Detroit manager, Ed Barrow. In his autobiography, ‘My Fifty Years in Baseball’, Barrow wrote that he never got along with Barrett. When Detroit owner, Frank Navin, blocked Barrow’s efforts to trade the star center fielder, Barrow quit. Barrow wrote that, on one occasion, Barrett complained to Barrow that ‘your methods take all the individuality away from a ballplayer.’ Barrow responded, ‘Young man, if you ever speak to me that way again I will take more than your individuality away from you. I will knock your block off.’

“In 1905, Barrow was gone as the Tigers manager, but a leg injury slowed Barrett and resulted in his appearing in only 20 games. When Ty Cobb joined the Tigers in August, Barrett faced a new threat. Detroit’s new manager Bill Armour introduced Cobb to Barrett. He told Cobb that Barrett’s ‘knee was on the bum, and I’m using you in his place in center field.’ Barrett was given the task of teaching Cobb the team’s signs, which included a system Barrett had developed in 1905 for stealing the opponents’ signs.”

crawford3

RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1901 1902

.335, 4 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-25 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-98 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam completes the All-Star team hat trick for the Detroit outfielders and he was the best of them all. He came over from the Reds and Crawford finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6), third in Offensive WAR (5.3), second in batting (.335), ninth in on-base percentage (.366), fourth in slugging (.489), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (159). He still has better seasons ahead and it’s too bad he was Scottie Pippen to Ty Cobb’s Michael Jordan for so many years.

Why would Cincinnati give this man up? Wikipedia says, “At the end of 1902, a bidding war for players developed between the National and American Leagues. Crawford signed contracts with both the Reds and the Detroit Tigers. The competing contracts led to a publicized legal dispute, with a judge ultimately awarding Crawford to the Tigers but requiring $3,000 in compensation to the Reds.”

SABR states, “Crawford immediately became a fixture in the Tiger outfield, appearing in 137 or more games every year for the next 13 years, during which he batted better than .300 eight times. Crawford’s main defensive position was right field, except for 1907 through 1909, when he manned center and the Tigers won three consecutive pennants. Contemporary reports suggest that Crawford was considered a fairly good outfielder. Although he never led the league in assists, Crawford consistently threw out between 16 and 24 baserunners each season from 1900 to 1907. Though not a particularly fast runner, Crawford also covered the outfield terrain more than adequately, and consistently ranked among the league leaders in putouts, although he never led the league in that category.”

flick4

RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1898 1900 1901

.296, 2 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-In the beginning of 1902, Flick jumped  to the American League and played 11 games for Philadelphia, before coming to Cleveland for the rest of his career. The new league and the jumping around kept him off the All-Star team, but Flick is settled in now and had a good season. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4), eighth in on-base percentage (.368), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

                Wikipedia says, “Flick was one of many star NL players who jumped to the fledgling American League (AL) after the 1901 season, playing for the crosstown Philadelphia Athletics. Flick played in 11 games for the Athletics, before the Phillies obtained an injunction from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prohibiting any player under contract with the Phillies from playing for another team. Though this injunction named Lajoie, Bill Bernhard, and Chick Fraser only, it still applied to Flick as well. As a recourse, Flick and teammate Lajoie signed instead with the Cleveland Naps, as the Pennsylvania injunction could not be enforced in Ohio. The two players often traveled separately from their teammates for the next year, never setting foot in Pennsylvania in order to avoid a subpoena. Flick spent the remainder of his career in Cleveland, and the contract dispute was resolved when the leagues made peace in September 1903 with the National Agreement.” Just in case you were wondering, Cleveland did have losing records against Philadelphia in 1902 and 1903, which you would figure for a team which didn’t have Lajoie and Flick in the lineup.

green

RF-Danny Green, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

.309, 6 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-Edward “Danny” Green was born on November 6, 1876 in Burlington, NJ. There are no height and weight stats for him on Baseball Reference. He started as an outfielder for Chicago in the National League in 1898 and then jumped to the White Sox in 1902. His home team would be in Windy City all eight years of his career. Green had the best year of his career, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4), eighth in batting (.309), fifth in on-base percentage (.375), eighth in steals (29), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (145). After this season, he’d play 1904 and 1905 with the White Sox and his major league career was done, one year before the Hitless Wonders had their great run.

As so many of these players did, he had a temper. In the book Mudville Madness: Fabulous Feats, Belligerent Behavior, and Erratic Episodes on the Diamond by Jonathan Weeks, it says on July 7, 1903, “Police intervention was required in another episode of umpires and players behaving badly. This time, the setting was Hilltop Park in New York. Chicago’s right fielder Danny Green made the second out of the seventh inning, and after complaining loudly to umpire Jack Sheridan, he was thrown out of the game. On his way back to the dugout, Green muttered something to the official that sounded to witnesses like an invitation to slug it out after the game.

“Shortly afterward, Green called Sheridan a ‘bull head’ from the bench. Sheridan pulled off his mask and approached the White Sox dugout as the sulking outfielder stepped up to greet him. To the complete surprise of players and spectators, Sheridan smashed Green over the head with his mask. The two clenched briefly until police broke it up.”