1900 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Buck Ewing, C

P-Cy Young, STL

P-Bill Dinneen, BSN

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Joe McGinnity, BRO

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Ned Garvin, CHC

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Chief Zimmer, PIT

1B-Jake Beckley, CIN

2B-Nap Lajoie, PHI

3B-John McGraw, STL

SS-George Davis, NYG

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Jesse Burkett, STL

LF-Kip Selbach, NYG

LF-Joe Kelley, BRO

CF-Billy Hamilton, BSN

CF-George Van Haltren, NYG

RF-Honus Wagner, PIT

RF-Elmer Flick, PHI

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO

 

Ewing Buck 325-63_FL_PD1900 ONEHOF Inductee-Buck Ewing, C

1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1888 1889 1890

.303, 71 HR, 883 RBI, 2-3, 3.45 ERA, 23 K, 47.6 WAR

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups and can see both lists in the About page on this site.

ONEHOF Nominees for 1901: King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Ed Delahanty.

Ewing is arguably the best catcher of the 1800s, with the argument coming from Charlie Bennett fans like myself. But since the tough Bennett was inducted seven years ago, there’s plenty of room in the ONEHOF for Ewing. He was part of two championship teams in 1888 and 1889.

Catching takes its toll on its denizens and Ewing stopped catching at the age of 31, moving to mainly first base and the outfield. For Cincinnati, Ewing also managed for five seasons, guiding the Reds to above-.500 years every time. This season, he started by managing the Giants, the team he garnered the most fame, but after they started 21-41, he was done and wouldn’t manage again.

Ewing didn’t have many years left. He moved back to Cincinnati where he would die of diabetes in 1906, at the age of 47.

young10P-Cy Young, St. Louis Cardinals, 33 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

19-19, 3.00 ERA, 115 K, .177, 1 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-7.3 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-7.5 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.008 (9th Time)

Shutouts-4 (4th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.194 (6th Time)

10th Time All-Star-After eight straight seasons of the National League fielding 12 teams, the league condensed down to eight this season. Louisville, Washington, Cleveland, and, most surprisingly, Baltimore were pared from the league, leaving Brooklyn (now Los Angeles), Boston (now Atlanta), Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York (now San Francisco). Those teams all remain to this day and would make up the NL all the way through 1961, or 61 years of consistency. Next year, in 1901, the American League will begin, adding eight more teams, and those 16 teams would be Major League Baseball all the way through 1960 (not counting the Federal League in 1914 and 1915 or the switch of Baltimore to New York in 1903).

It might be a changed league, but it was the same old Cy Young. He had an off-season, winning less than 20 games for the first time since 1890, but still led the league in WAR (7.3) and WAR for Pitchers (7.5). Young finished fourth in innings pitched (321 1/3), eighth in ERA (3.00), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (121).

Cyclone’s team switched nicknames from the Perfectos to the Cardinals this season and it remains that even to this day. Patsy Tebeau (42-50) and Louie Heilbroner (23-25) led the team to a fifth place 65-75 record, 19 games out of first.

According to SABR, Young “actually thought he had won 20 games, and it was reported as such at the time in both The Sporting News and the Spalding Guide but, as Reed Browning explains, later reconstruction of the historical record (including regularizing scoring rules) deprived him of one victory. The count at the time showed Young with 20 wins, and had everyone believed he was one win short of the number, there were two opportunities that might have been handled otherwise and given him a shot to reach 20.”

dinneen2

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Beaneaters, 24 Years Old

1899

20-14, 3.12 ERA, 107 K, .280, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-11

Adj. Pitching Runs-32

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.0

2nd Time All-Star-Wild Bill had his best season ever after coming over to the Beaneaters after Washington went defunct. He finished second in WAR (6.8) to Cy Young (7.3) and second in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), once again to Young (7.5). Dinneen finished fifth in innings pitched 320 2/3 and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (132). Boston’s South End Grounds was a huge hitters’ park, which explained Dinneen’s high ERA of 3.12.

The Beaneaters fell from second place in 1899 to a fourth place 66-72 finish this season. Frank Selee coached Boston for his 11th straight season, but next year will be his last.

Since I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to tell this story, I’ll do it now. From Wikipedia on Dinneen’s days as an umpire: “Dinneen had his own confrontation with [Babe] Ruth in the 1922 season. On June 19, the outfielder got into an argument with the umpire, and during the next day’s game he again insulted the official. In response, AL president Ban Johnson on June 21 sent a letter to Ruth, reading in part:

“’ I was keenly disappointed and amazed when I received Umpire Dinneen’s report, recounting your shameful and abusive language to that official in the game at Cleveland last Monday. Bill Dinneen was one of the greatest pitchers the game ever produced, and with common consent we hand to him today the just tribute. He is one of the cleanest and most honorable men baseball ever fostered. … Your conduct at Cleveland on Monday was reprehensible to a great degree – shocking to every American mother who permits her boy to go to a professional game. The American League cares nothing for Ruth. The individual player means nothing to the organization. When he steps on the ball field he is subject to our control and discipline. … Again you offended on Tuesday. You branded Umpire Dinneen as “yellow.” This is the most remarkable declaration a modern ball player has made. Dinneen stands out in the history of the game as one of the most courageous players we have ever had. If you could match up to his standard you would not be in the trough you occupy today. … Coupled with your misconduct on Monday, you doubled the penalty on Tuesday. You are hereby notified of your suspension for five days without salary. It seems the period has arrived when you should allow some intelligence to creep into a mind that has plainly been warped.’”

hahn2

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 21 Years Old

1899

16-20, 3.27 ERA, 132 K, .209, 2 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. 80 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-132 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-4

2nd Time All-Star-Hanh continued to be the Reds’ best pitcher, despite his young age. He also is going to have a short career, which is probably going to keep him out of my Hall of Fame. But while he did pitch, there weren’t too many better than Noodles. This season, he finished fourth in WAR (6.2) and third in WAR for Pitchers (6.4), behind only St. Louis’ Cy Young (7.5) and Boston’s Bill Dinneen (6.5). Hanh was seventh in innings pitched 311 1/3 with a 3.27 ERA. This wasn’t a good year for pitchers since only the best of the best remained in the league after the contraction of teams from 12 to eight.

It also wasn’t a good year for my Cincinnati Reds as the Bob Allen-led squad finished seventh in the National League with a 62-27 record. Allen only managed once before, in 1890 with the Phillies, and would never coach again.

Of this season, Wikipedia says, “By 1900, Hahn was beginning to look at careers beyond baseball. Though his friends had urged him to develop his talent for piano, Hahn wanted to pursue the study of electricity. He made plans to work for a large Memphis electrical company in the offseason following the 1900 season. He pitched the first no-hitter in the 20th century on July 12, 1900 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The day after being shut down by Hahn, the Phillies scored the most runs the team posted all year, defeating Pittsburgh 23–8. Hahn led the NL in shutouts that season.”

mcginnity2

P-Joe McGinnity, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1899

28-8, 2.94 ERA, 93 K, .193, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.778

Innings Pitched-343

Bases on Balls-113

Hit By Pitch-40

2nd Time All-Star-Iron Man McGinnity moved from Baltimore to Brooklyn after the Orioles folded, but continued to pitch often and pitch well. He finished ninth in WAR (5.1) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7). His walks probably hurt him in the WAR category, but I probably would have given him my Cy Young vote. He led the league in innings pitched (343), finished seventh in ERA (2.94), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (130). As was typical, McGinnity pitched a lot of innings and we haven’t seen the best of this yet.

So, led by Iron Man’s arm, Brooklyn took the National League crown for the second consecutive season. Ned Hanlon coached the team to an 82-54 record and the Superbas finished four-and-a-half games ahead of Pittsburgh. It was their hitting that led the way as they finished first in runs scored in the league.

Wikipedia says there was a playoff between the Superbas and Pirates at the end of the season. It states, “McGinnity also pitched two complete games in the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup, as the Superbas defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rather than draw straws to decide who would keep the trophy, the team voted to award it to McGinnity.”

By the way, his nickname didn’t come from his arm, but his occupation. According to SABR, “Joe McGinnity was truly an ‘Iron Man’ in almost every sense. Though he said that the nickname came from his off-season work in his wife’s family business, an iron foundry in McAlester, Oklahoma, McGinnity became famous for pitching both ends of doubleheaders and led his league in innings pitched four times in the five seasons from 1900 to 1904.”

phillippe

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

20-13, 2.84 ERA, 75 K, .203, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-star seasons. 38 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Louis “Deacon” Phillippe (pronounced FILL-eh-pee) was born on May 23, 1872 in Rural Retreat, VA. He started in 1899, winning 21 games for the Louisville Colonels, before coming over to Pittsburgh after the Colonels folded. He’s not going to make the Hall of Fame, but will be an integral part of the first official World Series in 1903. This season, Phillippe finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.1), fifth in ERA (2.84), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (128).

Pittsburgh battled for the pennant, finishing second with a 79-60 record, four-and-a-half games behind Brooklyn. Phillippe and Sam Leever gave the Pirates the best pitching in the league and had Pittsburgh within one-and-a-half games of first place as of September 24. Fred Clarke’s squad stumbled the rest of the way, going 6-7, and never got any closer.

There was an unofficial postseason this year, as Wikipedia mentions: “In 1900, he pitched for the Pirates in Game 3 of the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series to determine the National League champion between the Pirates and the Brooklyn Superbas. Pittsburg avoided the series sweep as Phillippe threw a six-hit shutout and the Pirates’ bats added 10 runs. The Pirates lost the series 3 games to 1.” Also, “Deacon is a distant relative of actor Ryan Phillippe, who named his first son Deacon in honor of the pitcher in 2003.” Ryan is probably most famous for being married to Reese Witherspoon for a number of years. So, if you’re ever going to use one of these players in one of those degrees of separation games, it might be good to start with Deacon.

griffith6

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 30 Years Old

1894 1895 1897 1898 1899

14-13, 3.05 ERA, 61 K, .253, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as Pioneer/Executive)

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

6th Time All-Star-To show the type of pitcher the Old Fox was, he had an off year and still made the All-Star team. Off year or not, he was the best player on the Orphans. It’s shocking to me he didn’t make the Hall of Fame as a player. His chances kept increasing yearly as he started getting two percent of the vote in 1937, three-point-eight percent in 1938; seven-point-three in 1939; 30.5 in 1942; and 43.7 percent in 1945. Yet on his final ballot in 1946, it dropped to 31.2 percent. That was the year he elected as a pioneer/executive by the Old Timers Committee.

Tom Loftus manned the reins in the Windy City, but Chicago had a tough year, finishing 65-75 and in sixth place. They had pretty good pitching, but no hitting and it hurt them.

Griffith fell to 248 innings this season, but he still managed to finish ninth in ERA at 3.05. The managers who took over for Chicago after the departure of Anson certainly didn’t feel the need to wear out arms like ol’ Cap did. What he’s most famous for is detailed in Wikipedia, which says, “When Ban Johnson, a longtime friend, announced plans to form the American League, Griffith was one of the ringleaders in getting National League players to jump ship. Using the cover of his post as vice president of the League Protective Players’ Association (a nascent players’ union), Griffith persuaded 39 players to sign on with the new league for the 1901 season. Griffith himself signed on with the Chicago White Stockings as player-manager.”

leever

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

15-13, 2.71 ERA, 84 K, .205, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.077

1st Time All-Star-Samuel “Sam” or “Deacon” or “The Goshen Schoolmaster” Leever was born on December 23, 1871 in Goshen, OH. He started with Pittsburgh in 1898 and would remain with it his entire 13-year career. The lanky five-foot-10, 175 pound hurler finished fourth in the league in ERA (2.71) and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (134). Deacon Leever and Deacon Phillippe made a formidable one-two punch from the Pirates’ mound.

SABR says, “The fourth of Edward and Amerideth Leever’s eight children, Samuel Leever was born on December 23, 1871, on a farm in Goshen, Ohio, about twenty miles northeast of Cincinnati. Like many of their neighbors, the Leevers were of Pennsylvania German heritage. After graduating from Goshen High School, Leever taught there for seven years before he signed his first baseball contract at the advanced age of 25.

“As an 1899 rookie, Leever pitched in a league-leading 51 games and 379 innings, and compiled a record of 21-23. Manager Patsy Donovan not only let him complete 35 games, Leever also led the league by finishing 11 games for other pitchers and by saving (as retroactively calculated) three games. Though a sore right arm nagged him occasionally throughout his career, Leever never had another losing season, and never again had an ERA as high as 3.00.

“During the years 1900-1902, with an exceptionally deep and talented pitching staff at his disposal, manager Fred Clarke used what amounted to a five-man rotation most of the time, thus preventing any of his great pitchers from accumulating huge win totals.” Even back in 1900, there was a five-man rotation.

1899 National League All-Star Team

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Joe McGinnity, BLN

P-Cy Young, STL

P-Jesse Tannehill, PIT

P-Jay Hughes, BRO

P-Frank Kitson, BLN

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Cy Seymour, NYG

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Bill Dinneen, WHS

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Ossee Schrecongost, CLV

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

2B-Tom Daly, BRO

3B-John McGraw, BLN

3B-Jimmy Williams, PIT

3B-Honus Wagner, LOU

SS-Bobby Wallace, STL

SS-George Davis, NYG

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Jesse Burkett, STL

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

RF-Chick Stahl, BSN

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO

 

willis

P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 23 Years Old

27-8, 2.50 ERA, 120 K, .216, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1899 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR for Pitchers-10.5

Earned Run Average-2.50

Hits per 9 IP-7.275

Shutouts-5

Adjusted ERA+-165

Adj. Pitching Runs-61

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.9

1st Time All-Star-Victor Gazaway “Vic” Willis was born on April 12, 1876 in Cecil County, MD. According to Wikipedia, “He attended high school at Newark Academy, and played both on the high school baseball team and in semi-pro baseball leagues throughout Delaware. Prior to joining the major leagues, Willis played the 1897 season at the University of Delaware (then known as Delaware College), and later coached the 1907 team and parts of the 1908 team.” Willis then started for Boston in 1898, having a great year, going 25-13 with a 2.84 ERA and a 131 ERA+. This season, he had his best season ever, finishing first in WAR (10.2); first in WAR for Pitchers (10.5); eighth in innings pitched (342 2/3); first in earned run average 2.50; and first in Adjusted ERA+ (165). As if Boston didn’t have enough talent, it now had the best pitcher in the National League.

However, after winning two consecutive league crowns, Frank Selee’s Beaneaters couldn’t get past the stacked Brooklyn squad, which had picked up some key players from Baltimore. They finished 95-57, eight games out despite the best pitching in the league. It was their hitting that couldn’t keep up with the Superbas. Boston was one game back as of August 9 after a seven-game winning streak, but went 3-5 in its next eight games and never got back into the race. Selee would coach six more seasons, but never win another pennant. He’ll have to be satisfied with the five he did win.

mcginnity

P-Joe McGinnity, Baltimore Orioles, 28 Years Old

28-16, 2.68 ERA, 74 K, .193, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Jerome “Joe” or “Iron Man” McGinnity was born on March 20, 1871 in Cornwall, IL and if ever a nickname fit someone it was Iron Man McGinnity. He would lead his league in innings pitched four times and in games pitched six years. In this, his rookie year, he finished seventh in WAR (8.0); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.6), behind only Boston’s Vic Willis (10.5); fourth in innings pitched (366 1/3); third in earned run average (2.68), behind Willis and St. Louis’ Cy Young (2.58); and third in Adjusted ERA+ (147), behind Willis (165) and Young (154). It’s one of the best rookie years of all-time.

McGinnity got a late start in the Major Leagues. He’d been pitching in the minors since 1893. Then, according to Wikipedia, “Former Brooklyn Grooms player George Pinkney, who lived in Peoria during his retirement, saw McGinnity pitch, and contacted Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets to recommend he sign McGinnity. He signed McGinnity in the spring of 1899 for $150 a month ($4,318 in current dollar terms). The syndicate that owned Brooklyn also owned the Baltimore Orioles.

“With the Orioles, McGinnity played with John McGraw, who succeeded Hanlon as player-manager, and Wilbert Robinson, who caught McGinnity. McGraw and Robinson had refused to relocate to Brooklyn due to their investment in a Baltimore restaurant. The two imparted their aggressive style of play to McGinnity. In his first year in the NL, McGinnity had a 28–16 record.” I’ll have more on the Baltimore and Brooklyn situation in the John McGraw write-up.

young9

P-Cy Young, St. Louis Perfectos, 32 Years Old, 1899 ONEHOF Inductee

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

26-16, 2.58 ERA, 101 K, .216, 1 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.116 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.072 (8th Time)

Complete Games-40

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.523 (5th Time)

Assists as P-117 (3rd Time)

9th Time All-Star-Young now adds another award to his trophy case, the prestigious ONEHOF, the One-a Year Hall of Fame in which the best player not currently in that Hall is inducted. It took Young nine straight All-Star teams and being the best pitcher of his generation, but he’s in. The nominees for next year’s ONEHOF are King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, and Ed Delahanty.

There were some shenanigans going on in baseball at this time as owners could own two clubs and load their best players onto one of them. That’s how Cy Young ended up in St. Louis, as according to Wikipedia, “Prior to the 1899 season, Frank Robison, the Spiders owner, bought the St. Louis Browns, thus owning two clubs simultaneously. The Browns were renamed the ‘Perfectos’, and restocked with Cleveland talent. Just weeks before the season opener, most of the better Spiders players were transferred to St. Louis, including fellow pitcher Pete McBride and three future Hall of Famers: Young, Jesse Burkett, and Bobby Wallace. The roster maneuvers failed to create a powerhouse Perfectos team, as St. Louis finished fifth in both 1899 and 1900.” It also led to a miserable Cleveland team.

                Young finished second in WAR (8.4), behind only Boston’s Vic Willis (10.5); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.5); third in innings pitched (369 1/3), behind Pittsburgh’s Sam Leever (379) and teammate Jack Powell (373); second in ERA (2.58), behind only Willis (2.50); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (154), again behind Willis (165).

tannehill2

P-Jesse Tannehill, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

1898

24-14, 2.82 ERA, 65 K, .250, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Powder won 20 games for the second consecutive season and made his second straight All-Star team. He finished third in WAR (8.4), behind Boston’s Vic Willis (10.2) and St. Louis’ Cy Young (8.4); sixth in WAR for Pitchers (7.9); pitched 322 innings; finished ninth in ERA (2.82); and finished 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (134). He would never have the nickname of Iron Man because he wasn’t a workhorse. Not once in his 15 seasons did he finish in the top 10 in innings pitched. As a matter of fact, his 326 2/3 innings pitched in 1898 was his highest and this year’s total was his second highest. These would be the only two seasons Tannehill had 300 or more innings pitched.

Pittsburgh improved from its last season, moving from eighth to seventh. Bill Watkins started out the year as manager, but was released after a 7-15 start. Patsy Donovan took the reins and compiled a respectable 69-58 record. Doing the math, the Pirates finished 76-73. Watkins would never manage again, but at least he has a National League and World Series championship in 1887 to his name.

Tannehill relied on his control, according to SABR, which says, “On the mound, the short left-hander relied on an agonizingly slow curveball and razor-sharp control. Every year from 1897 to 1904, Tannehill ranked among his league’s top five in fewest walks per nine innings pitched. He wasn’t a big strikeout pitcher, either–he recorded only 940 strikeouts in more than 2,750 career innings–but his low walk totals still ensured him an annual spot among pitchers with the best strikeout to walk ratios.”

hughesj

P-Jay Hughes, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

28-6, 2.68 ERA, 99 K, .252, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Win-Loss %-.824

1st Time All-Star-James H. “Jay” Hughes was born on January 22, 1874 in Sacramento, CA. Someone told him, “Go east, young man” and he ended up on Baltimore in 1898. He came to Brooklyn this year. I’ll have more on that in a second. He won 23 games in 1898 as an already effective pitcher. This season, Hughes finished fourth in WAR (8.0); seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.6); fifth in earned run average (2.68); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (145). After pitching 300 2/3 innings the year before, he pitched 291 2/3 innings this year.

Brooklyn finished 101-47 and won the league. However, it was a tainted title. Wikipedia relays the story: “The 1899 season began with the Brooklyn team and the Baltimore Orioles merging their ownership groups. Baltimore owner Harry Von der Horst and Ned Hanlon became part owners of Brooklyn. Von der Horst insisted that Hanlon become the team’s new manager, a position that had been promised to outfielder Mike Griffin, who had been interim manager the previous year. Griffin quit and wound up suing the team for lost wages. His contract was sold to the Cleveland Spiders, but Griffin never played or managed in the majors again.

“Renamed the Superbas as part of the deal, the team also siphoned off several of the Orioles’ best players. On March 11, the team brought Bill Dahlen, Mike Heydon, Jay Hughes, Hughie Jennings, Willie Keeler, Joe Kelley, Al Maul, Dan McGann and Doc McJames onto their roster from Baltimore, while assigning Harry Howell, Candy LaChance, Kit McKenna, Ralph Miller, Jack Ryan, Jimmy Sheckard and Aleck Smith to the Orioles. This influx of talent was a good part of the reason why the Superbas managed to win the National League pennant with 101 wins after winning just 54 games in 1898.” It’s not surprising Brooklyn won with all of this talent. It’s surprising Baltimore still battled despite losing it all. It was the franchise’s third league title.

kitson

P-Frank Kitson, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

22-16, 2.78 ERA, 75 K, .201, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Frank R. Kitson was born on September 11, 1869 in Watson, MI. He started pitching part-time for Baltimore in 1898 and then had his best season ever this year. Kitson finished ninth in WAR (7.8) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.0). He pitched 326 2/3 innings (10th in the National League) with a 2.79 ERA (sixth) and a 141 Adjusted ERA+ (sixth). He will probably not make another All-Star team and bounced around for the rest of his career, pitching for Brooklyn (1900-02), Detroit (1903-05), Washington (1906-07), and the Highlanders (1907). He finished with a respectable 129-118 record and a 3.18 ERA.

Wikipedia fills in the blanks, stating, “Born in Hopkins, Michigan, Kitson’s major league career got off to a roller coaster start. In his first start on May 19, 1898, he shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates. Six days later, the Cubs scored 20 runs off Kitson; the game was called after 7 innings with the Cubs ahead 20–4.

“Kitson won 15 or more games for five straight years from 1899 to 1903, including 22 wins with the Baltimore Orioles in 1899. In 1899, he was among the National League leaders in ERA (2.77), wins (22), winning percentage (.636), and complete games (34).

“Kitson was one of the top left-handed pitchers at the turn of the century. After winning 22 games for the Orioles, he had consecutive 19-win seasons for Brooklyn in 1901 and 1902. In 1903, he jumped to the American League, where he did not have as much success.”

hahn

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 20 Years Old

23-8, 2.68 ERA, 145 K, .147, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Will require six more All-Star seasons. Probably fall short)

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-145

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.88

1st Time All-Star-Frank George “Noodles” Hahn was born on April 29, 1879 in Nashville, TN and had a sensational rookie year. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound pitcher finished eighth in WAR (7.9) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.5), behind only Boston’s Vic Willis (10.5) and Joe McGinnity (8.6). He tossed 309 innings with a 2.68 ERA, fourth in the National League, and a 145 Adjusted ERA+, also fourth. Despite pitching only eight seasons, Noodles got some Hall of Fame interest.

Led by Hahn, the Reds, managed by Buck Ewing, finished sixth in the National League with an 83-67 record, 19 games behind Brooklyn. It was a drop-off from the team’s third place finish in 1898.

SABR has an explanation, sort of, for his nickname, saying, “He acquired his distinctive nickname as a youngster, though he claimed he didn’t know why. ‘All I know is they always called me “Noodles,”’ Hahn said. But a friend claimed to recall the origin quite well. ‘When Hahn was a boy in Nashville,’ the man explained, ‘he always had to carry his father’s lunch to him. His father worked in a piano factory, and the lunch was always noodle soup, so the nickname was a natural.’ There are at least three other variations on the story, however; in one he earned the nickname because he sold his mother’s homemade noodle soup, in a second he was simply fond of the soup, and in a third, his brothers gave him the nickname for carrying noodle soup for his grandmother to a poor neighbor.”

seymour

P-Cy Seymour, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

14-18, 3.56 ERA, 142 K, .327, 2 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.763 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-170 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-20 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Bentley “Cy” Seymour was born on December 9, 1872 in Albany, NY. The interesting thing about doing this webpage is discovering how many others besides Babe Ruth had similar career arcs where they started as pitchers and then moved to being a position player. That was Seymour, who would be mainly a pitcher for the Giants from 1896-1900, but once he left the team after that, he’d pretty much move to the outfield and have a good, long career there. This season, he made the All-Star team as New York’s best player, using effective wildness to pitch 268 1/3 innings with a 3.56 ERA and a 105 ERA+, while at the plate slashing .327/.344/.409 with two stolen bases and a 109 OPS+. His hitting, while good now, will dramatically improve in a few years.

The Giants fell from seventh to tenth this season, finishing 60-90 under the guidance of John Day (29-35) and Fred Hoey (31-55). It couldn’t have pleasant to see their city mates in Brooklyn take the title. But in a few years, the answers to their problems would come in the form of a fiery third baseman from Baltimore.

SABR tells us, “Since 1893, when the pitching rubber was moved back to sixty feet, six inches, only two players in major league baseball have pitched more than 100 games and collected 1500 hits. Babe Ruth (1914-35) stroked 2873 hits in his career and pitched in 163 games (94-46, 2.28 ERA). The other player was Cy Seymour (1896-1913), who accumulated 1723 hits and pitched in 140 games (61-53, 3.76 ERA). Seymour’s pitching career highlights include a 25-victory season with a league-leading 239 strikeouts in 1898, the best of all pitchers during the transition era of 1893 to 1900.”

griffith5P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 29 Years Old

1894 1895 1897 1898

22-14, 2.79 ERA, 73 K, .258, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No. (Yes as a Pioneer/Executive)

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

5th Time All-Star-Welcome to Ron’s Hall of Fame, Clark Griffith. Though it’s not based in Cooperstown, but in Carter Lake, IA, where I first learned to love the game as a wee lad, it will someday be just as prestigious. Griffith made it on an off-year, he’s on the All-Star team this season as Chicago’s sole representative. He’s got a good chance at making two more All-Star teams for two different Chicago squads.

Tom Burns, who had taken over for Cap Anson the season before, managed the Orphans to an eighth place finish, down from fourth in 1898. They had a 75-73 record.

This season, Griffith pitched 319 2/3 innings. It would be the last time he’d be over the 300 inning mark. He was seventh in the league in ERA (2.79) and ninth in the National League in Adjusted ERA+ (134). All of this and he was also just a good man, according to a quote from Bobo Newsom on Baseball Reference, who says, “He was the greatest humanitarian who ever lived and the greastest pillar of honesty baseball ever had. I never played for a better man, on the field or off.”

One more thing, Griffith almost killed a man in 1899. Baseball History Daily tells us, “[Bill Phyle] went duck hunting with teammates Clark Griffith, Bill Lange, Jack Taylor and Jimmy Callahan at A.G. Spalding’s New Mexico ranch.  The Inter Ocean said of the trip:

“’A bullet from a Winchester rifle in the hands of Clark Griffith nearly ended the life of William Phyle, the promising young pitcher of the Chicago ball team.’

“Phyle, unbeknownst to Griffith, remained in the group’s boat while Griffith fired on a flock of ducks flying near the boat:

“’Griffith pulled the trigger and a ball tore its way through the stem of the boat…The ball carried in a direct line over the young pitcher’s head, and could not have missed him by more than six inches.’

“Phyle was shaken, but unhurt, while ‘Griffith’s nerves received such a shock that he was weak and almost prostrated for some time after.’”

dinneen

P-Bill Dinneen, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

14-20, 3.93 ERA, 91 K, .303, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 71 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Big Bill” Dinneen was born on April 5, 1876 in Syracuse, NY. In the day and age that he played, apparently being six-foot-one, 190 pounds would get you the “Big” moniker. He made the team as Washington’s only representative, but he’d have better seasons to come. Dinneen started with the Senators in 1898, going 9-16, and this season, pitched 291 innings with a 3.93 ERA and a 99 ERA+.

If it weren’t for the train wreck Cleveland squad, Washington would’ve finished last. As it was, it finished 11th for the second consecutive season. Arthur Irwin managed the team to a 54-98 record and his coaching days were over. He did lead the Boston Reds to a pennant in 1891 and got to manage the Phillies in their .400 hitting explosion of 1894, but those were the highlights in his eight-year coaching career.

SABR says of the big man, “The most controversial aspect of his life has been the spelling of his last name. Though many contemporary sources and reference works render his last name as ‘Dineen,’ this retrospective will refer to him as ‘Dinneen,’ based on the fact that the latter is the spelling on his tombstone, death certificate, and in census records. Always a big kid for his age, Dinneen was one of the hardest throwers among his friends, and thus began pitching at an early age. While playing semipro ball in the Syracuse area, he signed a contract with Toronto of the Eastern League as a 19-year-old in 1895.”

mcfarland2

C-Ed McFarland, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1898

.333, 2 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-14

Passed Balls-32

2nd Time All-Star-McFarland made his second consecutive All-Star team in a very weak era for catchers. It’s not that there weren’t good catchers – McFarland certainly was one – but the position was beat up day after day and few catchers caught 100 or more games. McFarland caught 94 and he was a tough bird. In those games, he slashed .333/.403/.475 for an OPS+ of 144, along with stealing nine bases. He’d never hit better again.

Philadelphia fought for the pennant, but ended up short despite a 94-58 record. Bill Shettsline led a team with the best hitting in the league, but it lacked on the mound and couldn’t overcome that. The Phillies were only three-and-a-half games out as of August 19, but never got any closer.

Most of what you read about McFarland centered on his drinking, as in the beginning of his article on SABR, “Eddie McFarland was one of the most talented catchers of his day but suffered badly from alcoholism, many years missing big chunks of playing time during the course of a season. Despite ultimately drinking himself out of the game, he still had a long career. He must have had a strong constitution, because he also lived a very long life.

“In 1899 he was the best-hitting catcher in the league, with a .333 average, though in 96 games due to a ‘split hand’ he’d suffered in May.” Even nowadays, with better equipment, if a catcher can hit, there’s talk of moving him to first to save his bat. Not so in McFarland’s era.

schrecongost

C-Ossee Schrecongost, St. Louis Perfectos/Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

.290, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Freeman Osee “Ossee” Schrecongost, who also played under the name of Ossee Schrenk, was born on April 11, 1875 in New Bethlehem, PA. He was one of the greatest defensive catchers of his day and got some Hall of Fame consideration. Schrecongost started by playing one game for Louisville in 1897, before coming over to Cleveland. He was part of the St. Louis-Cleveland exchange program this season, which I’ll get to in a second. Schrecongost slashed .290/.328/.375 with 18 stolen bases and a 94 OPS+. He never would have made the All-Star team if he wasn’t Cleveland’s best player, but that isn’t saying much. Why, you ask?

From Wikipedia: “In 1899, the Spiders’ owners, the Robison brothers, bought the St. Louis Browns out of bankruptcy and changed their name to the Perfectos. However, they kept the Spiders as well—a blatant conflict of interest. Believing the Perfectos would draw greater attendance in more densely populated St. Louis, the Robisons transferred most of the Cleveland stars, including future Baseball Hall of Famers Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, and Bobby Wallace to St. Louis. They also shifted a large number of Cleveland home games to the road (for instance, the original Opening Day game was shifted to St. Louis).

“With a decimated roster, the Spiders made a wretched showing. They finished with a dismal won-lost record of 20–134 (.130), the worst in baseball history, 84 games behind the pennant-winning Brooklyn Superbas and 35 games behind the next-to-last (11th) place Washington Senators.”

tenney

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

.347, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 1B-150

Assists as 1B-99

Double Plays Turned as 1B-107

1st Time All-Star-Frederick “Fred” Tenney was born on November 26, 1871 in Georgetown, MA. He’s been playing for the Beaneaters since 1894, as a second baseman, outfielder and now first baseman. Tenney would be with the team through 1907, before moving to the Giants. He made the All-Star team by finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (5.3), eighth in batting average (.347), and ninth in on-base percentage (.411). He would get some minimal Hall of Fame consideration, but never really got close.

According to Wikipedia, he was “Described as ‘one of the best defensive first basemen of all time’, Tenney is credited with originating the 3-6-3 double play and originating the style of playing off the first base foul line and deep, as modern first basemen do.” Defensive WAR says 1899 was his best defensive season with a 1.2 dWAR.

Tenney injured himself in his Major League debut on June 16, 1894 and was offered a contract that day. Tenney himself tells what happens that day: “I thought they were trying to have a little joke with me, and I concluded that I could do a little kidding myself. So I thought I would call their bluff by asking for some advance money. I screwed up my courage and asked Mr. Billings whether, if I signed the contract at once, I could get some advance money. He asked how much I wanted, and I thought I would mention a big sum in order to call their bluff good and strong. So I said $150. He consulted with Mr. Conant, another Director, and said that I could have the money all right, and asked me how I would like to have it– cash or check. […] I replied that I would take half cash and then half in check, and immediately he wrote out a check for $75, counted out $75 in cash, shoved the contract over to me to sign, laying the cash and check beside it.”

daly

2B-Tom Daly, Brooklyn Superbas, 33 Years Old

.313, 5 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 2B-63 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-69

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Peter “Tom” or “Tido” Daly was born on February 7, 1866 in Philadelphia, PA. It took him 13 Major League seasons before he made his first All-Star team. He started with the 1884 Union Association Philadelphia Keystones, playing two games at catcher. He continued to be a backstop for the 1887-88 Chicago squad and the 1889 Washington team, before coming to Brooklyn in 1890. He moved to third base in 1892 and finally his position of second base in 1893. He missed the 1897 season.

This season, Daly finished 10th in Offensive WAR (4.3) and ninth in stolen bases (43). He played a career-high 141 games, showing that if could have put together full seasons in the past, he might have made more All-Star teams. Daly also had his second championship.

After this year, Tido would play for Brooklyn for two more seasons, then move to the American League White Sox for 1902-03 and then with the Reds in 1903, retiring at the age of 37. In his years as a catcher, Daly never played more than 82 games, which was typical for backstops. The only reason his career was prolonged was he finally got to stop catching on a regular basis. Nowadays, catchers can play 140-150 games fairly easily, but it was a brutal position to play in the 1800s. Even after moving from catcher, he never could put together a season where he played 140 or more games except for this one. That’s why the career of Charlie Bennett is so fascinating to me. He was the toughest catcher there ever was.

mcgraw43B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 26 years Old

1893 1895 1898

.391, 1 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.0

On-Base %-.547 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-140 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-124 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-In 1899, the owner of the Orioles and the owner of the Superbas was the very same man and he sent many of his best players to Brooklyn, leaving the former powerhouse Baltimore team with limited resources. What helped it was one of the people staying with the club was John McGraw, who also took over the managerial reins of the team. What helped the manager was his best player was a third baseman named John McGraw, who had his best season ever. McGraw finished fifth in WAR (8.0); first in WAR Position Players (8.0); second in Offensive WAR (7.4), behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (7.7); third in batting average (.391), trailing Delahanty (.410) and St. Louis’ Jesse Burkett (.396); first in on-base percentage (.547); second in stolen bases (73); behind only teammate Jimmy Sheckard (77); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (168), again trailing only Delahanty (191).

As a first-time manager, McGraw led his threadbare team to a fourth place 86-62 season, an absolute stellar job at the helm. You might have heard his name as a future great manager and it all started here at the age of 26.

Wikipedia, on the Hall of Fame manager: “Despite great success as a player, McGraw is most remembered for his tremendous accomplishments as a manager. In his book The Old Ball Game, National Public Radio‘s Frank Deford calls McGraw ‘the model for the classic American coach—a male version of the whore with a heart of gold—a tough, flinty so-and-so who was field-smart, a man’s man his players came to love despite themselves.’” How ironic to have some writing from Deford, who, as of this writing, just passed away.

williams

3B-Jimmy Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

.354, 9 HR, 116 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 44 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Triples-27

Def. Games as 3B-153

Putouts as 3B-251

Errors Committed as 3B-67

1st Time All-Star-James Thomas “Jimmy” Williams was born on December 20, 1876 in St. Louis, MO and had a spectacular rookie season. The five-foot-nine, 175 pound third baseman finished third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind only Baltimore’s John McGraw (8.0) and Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (8.0); third in Offensive WAR (6.9), behind Delahanty (7.7) and McGraw (7.4); fifth in batting average (.354); eighth in on-base percentage (.416); third in slugging (.530), behind Delahanty (.582) and Washington’s Buck Freeman (.563); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (159). It was his best season ever.

SABR has some highlights from his spectacular rookie season: “In May-June he had a 26-game hitting streak, which was finally stopped by fellow-rookie Charles Phillippe of Louisville. On May 30 Jimmy’s five-hit/three-run game beat Washington 4-3 in ten frames. Later Williams slashed out a 27-game streak, ironically halted once again by Phillippe on September 8. (Phillippe had also no-hit the New York Giants in late May 1899.) Jimmy had hit better than .400 off the gentlemanly ‘Deacon’ in six 1898 Western League games when the Blues played Minneapolis. In fact Phillippe opened the 1898 campaign versus Kansas City. With all the great Pirate hitters in the last 106 years, Williams’ 27-game mark is still tops, now in its third century, as is his rookie triples mark, a number that may never be surpassed. He may have also set another record in late July in a five-game series sweep versus the cross-state rival Phillies. Jimmy was 13 for 20, scoring 10 times and knocking in 18 runs with five triples and two homers.”

wagner

3B-Honus Wagner, Louisville Colonels, 25 Years Old

.341, 7 HR, 114 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-John Peter “Honus” or “The Flying Dutchman” Wagner was born on February 24, 1874 in Chartiers, PA. Ever since I began this project, I’ve been looking forward to writing about him. First things first, according to Baseball Reference, his first name doesn’t rhyme with bonus, but is pronounced HONN-us. Anytime I’ve heard his name said on TV, it was always HONE-us. That apparently is wrong. He started his career with Louisville in 1897 and, though Wagner is most famous as a shortstop, that wouldn’t become his regular position until 1903.

This was Louisville’s last season and Fred Clarke led it to a ninth place 75-77 record. Next year, the league will condense from 12 to eight teams and the Colonels would be one of them that was gone.

Wagner finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.8) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2), which would be the lowest he’d finish in those categories until 1913. He was 10th in batting average (.341), fourth in slugging percentage (.501), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (142). And the best is yet to come.

                In one game, reported by SABR, the Colonels beat the mighty Perfectos, due to Wagner who “…led off the bottom of the 10th with a single past Wallace; it was Wagner’s fifth hit of the game. He then stole second base. Ritchey made three unsuccessful attempts at a sacrifice bunt and struck out. Woods flied out to Blake for the second out. Wagner headed to third base as Cy Young delivered to Wills, who grounded the ball to Childs at second base. It was an easy play for Childs, but he fumbled it. Wagner aggressively rounded third and sprinted home. Childs’ throw to the plate was too late. The final score was Louisville 13, St. Louis 12.”

wallace2

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Perfectos, 25 Years Old

1898

.295, 12 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-536

2nd Time All-Star-In a few seasons, when Honus Wagner moves to shortstop permanently, Wallace won’t stand a chance to be the game’s best player at that position, but for right now, no one is playing better than him there. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.5) and second in Defensive WAR (2.1), behind only Boston’s Jimmy Collins (2.6). Wallace moved from Cleveland to St. Louis this year as part of the shenanigans pulled by the owners, the Robison brothers, who owned both teams and put the best players on St. Louis.

Scott Schul writes on SABR, “Perhaps the greatest defensive shortstop of his generation, Bobby Wallace was a fair right-handed hitter whose spectacular glove work catapulted him to the Hall of Fame. Wallace began his major league career as a pitcher, where his dazzling fielding soon convinced management to find a position that better suited his unique combination of skills. After spending two seasons at third base, Wallace moved to shortstop in 1899, where his strong arm, spectacular range, and fluid motion revolutionized the way the position was played.

“Bobby logged over 300 games at the hot corner until June 5, 1899, when he finally moved to the position that earned him the nickname ‘Mr. Shortstop.’ By then, thanks to syndicate ownership, Wallace and Tebeau had been transferred from the hapless Spiders to the St. Louis Perfectos, the first of three seasons Bobby would spend with the franchise. ‘We were in Philadelphia when Manager Pat shifted me from third to short and right off the bat I knew I had found my dish,’ said Wallace. ‘Footwork was more a part of the new position than it had been at third. I suddenly felt I had sprouted wings. A world of new possibilities opened for me.’”

Davis G 4025.99 PDSS-George Davis, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1893 1894 1897

.337, 1 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-7.04

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.72 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.946

4th Time All-Star-Davis is now in my Hall of Fame and has a good shot at also making the ONEHOF, the One Player a year Hall of Fame. He didn’t make the All-Star team in 1898 as his hitting was a little off, but he’s back this season. Davis finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.9) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.7). He’d never again match the .337 batting average and .394 on-base percentage he had this season, but that will be normal in the Deadball Era where the offensive stats for all players will drop. It is generally thought to last from 1901 to 1920.

When Davis finally got into the Hall of Fame in 1998, it was due to some lobbying. Wikipedia says, “Davis was up for a vote before the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee in 1998. Before the committee voted, sportswriter Dave Anderson wrote an article in The New York Times on Davis’s Hall of Fame candidacy. He pointed out the work of Cohoes city historian Walt Lipka, which favorably compared Davis to almost all of the shortstops in the Hall of Fame. Anderson supported Davis’s election, saying, ‘It’s as if he were discarded nearly a century ago into a time capsule that was forgotten until now… For too long, George Stacey Davis has been his era’s most forgotten best player.’ He was selected for induction that year.

“Prior to his Hall of Fame induction, a Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) chapter in New York put out a call to locate a descendant of Davis to be present at the induction ceremony and announced plans for a historical marker in Cohoes. As a great deal of time had passed since his death, no relatives could be located, but a group of about 50 people from Cohoes traveled to the ceremony in support of Davis.”

dahlen4

SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1892 1896 1898

.283, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

4th Time All-Star-SABR says, “inally, on January 25, 1899. Chicago traded him to Baltimore for Gene De Montreville. Softening his earlier criticism, [Chicago President Jim] Hart showed decorum. ‘In dropping Dahlen from the roll, I do not wish to be considered in any way as reflecting upon Dahlen’s playing ability, for a more expert fielder never wore a baseball uniform,’ eulogized Hart. ‘If he had greater ambition I do not doubt but that he would be the acknowledged star of the baseball world.’

“A new ownership syndicate controlled the Baltimore Orioles and the Brooklyn franchise (then known as the Superbas) in 1899. Brooklyn was this group’s favored location, though a club continued to operate in Baltimore in 1899. Dahlen expressed resignation at joining the Superbas, indicating submission rather than enthusiasm. ‘Of course, I hadn’t been consulted when I was traded for DeMont,’ Dahlen said. ‘I am expected to go wherever I am sent, and I suppose I have no recourse but to go. I haven’t seen Hart for three weeks, but have been expecting this. At the same time I am not raising any howl. The Baltimore boys are all friends of mine.’”

Dahlen finished fifth in Defensive WAR (1.7). He was in the second of nine straight years he would finish in the top 10 in that category. He was no longer among the National League’s elite hitters, though his Adjusted OPS+ was still above 100 at 116. It would never be that high again, but his fielding will put him on a few more All-Star teams. He was also part of his first championship team. Oh, and also welcome to Ron’s Hall of Fame, Bad Bill!

delahanty7LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

.410, 9 HR, 137 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-7.7 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.410

Slugging %-.582 (4th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.046 (3rd Time)

Hits-238

Total Bases-338 (2nd Time)

Doubles-55 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-137 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-191 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-156 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-74 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.2 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-73 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.860 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-With Delahanty now 31 years old and making his seventh straight All-Star team, it’s hard to believe this was his best season so far with one more that even arguably beats this one. There wasn’t anything this man couldn’t do with a bat as he over .400 for the third time with his highest average ever (.410). He also continues to lead in All-Star teams for a leftfielder. Here is the complete lineup:

 

P-Tim Keefe (11 All-Star teams made)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (7)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

Despite that, he’s moving to first base next season.

Delahanty finished sixth in WAR (8.0); second in WAR Position Players (8.0), behind only Baltimore’s John McGraw (8.0); first in Offensive WAR (7.7); first in batting average (.410); second in on-base percentage (.464), again behind only McGraw (.547); first in slugging (.582); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (191). It was just an incredible year.

Wikipedia tells us, “In 1899, Delahanty hit four doubles in the same game. He remains the only man with a four-homer game and a four-double game. The same year Delahanty collected hits in 10 consecutive at bats. He tallied six-hit games in 1890 and 1894.” By next season, Delahanty will be making $3,000 for the season. It’s just impossible to imagine how much a hitter like Delahanty, who was so consistent and had so many good seasons, would be making in the modern era.

burkett4

LF-Jesse Burkett, St. Louis Perfectos, 30 Years Old

1893 1895 1896

.396, 7 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Burkett hadn’t made an All-Star team since 1896 and this year, according to Baseball Reference, “Burkett moved on to the St. Louis Cardinals (then known as the Perfectos) as part of the shenanigans that turned the Spiders – one of the top teams in baseball over the previous decade – into the worst team ever.” You heard BR, shenanigans! However Crab got to St. Louis, baby, he had a good season once there. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.8); fourth in Offensive WAR (5.8); second to Ed Delahanty (.410) in batting average (.396); third in on-base percentage (.463), behind Baltimore’s John McGraw (.547) and Delahanty (.464); fifth in slugging (.500); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (161), behind only Delahanty (191) and McGraw (168).

Burkett lived up to his Crab nickname. SABR reports, “During his major league career, Burkett was once benched for throwing a baseball at a crowd of hecklers in the stands. On the field, ‘The Crab’ was regarded by many as the meanest player on the infamously rowdy Cleveland Spiders, ‘and Crab Burkett’s claws were in every rhubarb,’ one writer recalled. ‘Even when he was hitting .400, he played ball with a perpetual scowl.’ On August 4, 1897, the Spiders were forced to forfeit the opening game of a doubleheader to the Louisville Colonels after Burkett refused to leave the field following his ejection from the game. In the second game of the doubleheader, Burkett was again ejected for arguing with the umpire, who then called two policemen to have Burkett forcibly removed from the grounds.”

thomas

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

.325, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No  (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 71 percent chance)

 

Led in:

 

Times On Base-310

1st Time All-Star-Roy Allen Thomas was born on March 24, 1874 in Norristown, PA. Did Philadelphia have a factory that just pumped out All-Star outfielders? Thomas was tall and lanky, based on this five-foot-11 height and 150 pound weight. He had a sensational rookie season, finishing ninth in WAR Position Players (5.0), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.7), fourth in on-base percentage (.457), and 10th in stolen bases (42). His main skill over all of his years was drawing the base on balls. He would finish first in walks seven times in his career and this season, his 115 base on balls was second to John McGraw’s 124.

Wikipedia says, “During his 13-season career, Thomas was one of the most productive table-setters in the National League. His relentless patience at the plate infuriated opposing pitchers and prompted the NL to change its rule regarding foul balls in 1901. The new rule also was adopted by the American League two years later. He is, in fact, reported by James to hold the unofficial consecutive foul-ball record – 22, in one plate appearance.” The article doesn’t explain what the new rule was. So I did something called “research” and Baseball Reference states, “The foul strike rule was first adopted by the National League in 1901 as a response to some players (most notoriously Roy Thomas) developing the ability to foul of pitch after pitch to force a walk. Rulesmakers thought that this upset the balance between hitting and pitching. It was also disruptive because umpires normally had only two game balls at a time, and balls fouled off into the stands had to be retrieved from spectators. The foul strike rule was adopted to penalize players for hitting too many fouls. The American League did not adopt the foul strike league immediately, and the rules difference probably contributed to higher offense in the AL than NL in 1901 and 1902. The AL adopted the rule as part of the NL/AL peace agreement in the 1902-3 off-season. The adoption of the foul strike rule has been suggested as a possible contributor to decreased scoring in the Deadball Era.”

stahl

RF-Chick Stahl, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

.351, 7 HR, 52 RBI, 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Charles Sylvester “Chick” Stahl was born on January 10, 1873 in Avilla, IN. The five-foot-10, 160 pound outfielder was a good hitter for average from the get-go, as he hit .354 for Boston in his rookie year of 1897. This season was his best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.6), seventh in batting average (.351), fifth in on-base percentage (.426), sixth in slugging (.493), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (143). Though he’s not Hall of Fame-worthy, he’ll have a decent and consistent 10-year career. His life, however, had a tragic end.

Baseball Reference says, “Stahl was born in Avilla, IN in a German catholic family of 24 children (according to an interview Stahl gave in 1898). However, teammate Jake Stahl was not related to him, although a number of reference sources have erroneously claimed over the years that they were brothers. Chick Stahl grew up in Fort Wayne, IN and continued to reside there in the off-season. He began his career in organized baseball in 1895 for the Roanoke Magicians of the Virginia League. A .311 batting average, 13 triples, and brilliant fielding led to a contract with the Buffalo Bisons of the Eastern League the following year. There he hit .336, scored 130 runs, stole 34 bases and slugged 23 triples. Stahl led the EL in triples and runs. He was ready for the major leagues.

“Manager Frank Selee of the Boston Beaneaters drafted Stahl for the 1897 season. Originally given a utility role, he quickly claimed the regular right field job, hitting an outstanding .354, a mark that is still a Braves franchise record for rookies through 2006. Boston won the pennant in both 1897 and 1898, when Stahl hit .308. The team fell down in the standings in 1899, but Stahl had an outstanding all-around season, hitting .351 with 202 hits, 19 triples, 7 homers, 284 total bases, 72 walks, 33 stolen bases and scoring 122 runs.”

keeler3RF-Willie Keeler, Brooklyn Superbas, 27 Years Old

1895 1897

.379, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-140

Singles-190 (3rd Time)

AB per SO-285.0 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Sometime in May, Keeler struck out. It was his second whiff of the season, but incredibly, it was also his last. In Roy Thomas’ blurb, he is given the credit for the introduction of the rule that credited the first two foul balls as strikes, but it appears Wee Willie had more to do with that than anyone. I feel Keeler is a little overrated in baseball lore, because of his high batting average, but it doesn’t mean he was bad by any means. This season, Keeler finished ninth in Offensive WAR (4.4), fourth in batting average (.379), sixth in on-base percentage (.425), seventh in stolen bases (45), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (138). Keeler just had very little power as only 26 of his 216 hits this season were for extra bases.

And so I come to the last write-up I’ll be doing for the 1800s. It is a fascinating time of baseball. It has colorful stars, great teams, and, of course, terrible racism. Any chance black players had at getting into Major League baseball quickly were shut down in this time and that’s awful. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned doing this project, it’s that you have to judge an era by its own standards, not ours. When organized Major League baseball first started in 1871, the Civil War ended just six years prior. While it should be obvious people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, it wasn’t the lay of the land in the 1800s. It’ll be a long time until I get to 1947 in these All-Star teams, but it doesn’t make all who came before that year defective. Onward to the 1900s!

1898 National League All-Star Team

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Doc McJames, BLN

P-Al Maul, BLN

P-Jesse Tannehill, PIT

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Bert Cunningham, LOU

P-Ted Lewis, BSN

P-Pink Hawley, CIN

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Lou Criger, CLV

1B-Dan McGann, BLN

1B-Bill Joyce, NYG

2B-Gene DeMontreville, BLN

3B-John McGraw, BLN

3B-Jimmy Collins, BSN

3B-Bobby Wallace, CLV

3B-Lave Cross, STL

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

SS-Bill Dahlen, CHC

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Kip Selbach, WHS

CF-Billy Hamilton, BSN

RF-Elmer Flick, PHI

 

nichols9

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

31-12, 2.13 ERA, 138 K, .241, 2 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1897)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-13.2 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.8 (4th Time)

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.034 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.330

Games Pitched-50

Saves-4 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-65 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.5 (4th Time)

Def. Games as P-50

9th Time All-Star-As I write this in 2017, the dominant pitcher of our time is Clayton Kershaw. Every year, he’s on the top of the list of National League pitchers. He has been in the top 10 in WAR for Pitchers for seven straight years and now ranks fourth this year. The most innings he’s pitched in those seasons is 236 and in 2016, only threw 149 innings. I bring this up because Nichols has now made nine consecutive All-Star teams and never pitched less than the 368 innings he pitched in 1897, a total that led the league, by the way. He also has won 26 or more games all of those seasons. Kershaw has twice won 21. Nichols is going to start fading after this season, but he’s still going to make approximately four more All-Star teams. His longevity is incredible. I hope Kershaw’s arm holds up so we can say the same for him.

Boston won its second straight league title with a great 102-47 season under the guidance of Frank Selee. Its hitting wasn’t as good as Baltimore’s but with the rise of Ted Lewis, Boston’s pitching was the best in the league. The Beaneaters were four-and-a-half games out of first as of August 6, but went 44-12 the rest of the way to take the National League.

Nichols’ stats: first in WAR (11.1), first in WAR for Pitchers (10.8), second in innings pitched (388, behind only St. Louis’ Jack Taylor (397 1/3)), third in ERA (2.13, behind Chicago’s Clark Griffith (1.88) and Baltimore’s Al Maul (2.10)), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (174, behind only Griffith (192)).

griffith4

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

1894 1895 1897

24-10, 1.88 ERA, 97 K, .164, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes as a Pioneer/Executive, no as a Player

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

 

Led in:

 

1898 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-1.88

Adjusted ERA+-192

4th Time All-Star-Griffith, free of Cap Anson as manager, had his best season ever, finishing second in WAR (10.5) and second in WAR for Pitchers (10.7). He pitched a reasonable 325 2/3 innings with a National League-leading ERA of 1.88 and Adjusted ERA+ of 192. It’s no mean feat to have a 1.88 ERA in a league that averaged five runs a game. Speaking of runs per game, that average is less than the runs per game scored in the season before the mound was moved back 10 feet (1892), in which the average was 5.1 runs per game. My guess is the proliferation of gloves in the game is helping lower this total. Runs per game were 5.1 in 1892 (mound 50 feet away), 6.6 in 1893 (mound 60 feet, six inches from plate), 7.4 in 1894, 6.6 in 1895, 6.0 in 1896, 5.9 in 1897, and 5.0 this season.

For the first time since 1876, Anson wasn’t part of the Chicago team and the team improved dramatically. In 1897, Griffith was the only All-Star, this year, Bill Dahlen’s part of the squad. It was Chicago’s pitching and defense which dramatically improved, helping the team to a fourth place 85-65 record under the guidance of the Orphans’ new manager, Tom Burns. As for the name change, Wikipedia says, “The media, picking up on Anson’s absence, began referring to the team as the “Orphans”, as they had lost their ‘Pop’.” That media is clever. Teams didn’t really have nicknames in these days, except what they were dubbed by the newspapers.

McJames

P-Doc McJames, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

27-15, 2.36 ERA, 178 K, .181, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-James McCutchen “Doc” McJames, born James Mc Cutchen James, was born on August 27, 1874 in Williamsburg County, SC. He pitched for Washington from 1895-97, before being traded to Baltimore for this one season. It was his best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR (7.5) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.1). He pitched 374 innings with a 2.36 ERA and a 153 ERA+. McJames didn’t completely surprise the league because he did lead the league in strikeouts in 1897 with 156.

Baltimore had three All-Stars in 1897, but none of them were pitchers. Hughie Jennings was an All-Star again, but outfielders Joe Kelley and Willie Keeler didn’t quite make it, mainly due to injuries. The Orioles this season did have maybe the best infield year of all time as all four positions made the All-Star team – Dan McGann at first, Gene DeMontreville at second, John McGraw at third, and Jennings at short. Led by this juggernaut, Ned Hanlon’s Baltimore squad finished in second place with a 101-48 record, six games behind Boston.

Here’s SABR on McJames: “Pitcher James ‘Doc’ McJames was a refined renaissance man during a rough-hewn era of our national pastime. The colorful and well-spoken Southern gentleman was considered to be one of the most intelligent men in baseball. McJames’ rapid if brief ascent into stardom and eventual decline took place during the late 19th and early 20th century…

“Baltimore manager Ned Hanlon was so impressed with Doc’s pitching that spring that he selected him to start the home opener against Washington. McJames started off the 1898 campaign in fine form, striking out nine of his former Senator teammates in an 8-3 victory in front of 6,500 fans at Union Park.”

maul2

P-Al Maul, Baltimore Orioles, 32 Years Old

1895

20-7, 2.10 ERA, 31 K, .204, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Maul moved from Washington to Baltimore in the midst of the 1897 season and, in his first full year with Baltimore, had his best season ever. He finished third in WAR (7.8) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.4). Smiling Al pitched 239 2/3 innings and had a 2.10 ERA (2nd in the National League) and a 172 ERA+ (3rd in the league). After this season, he would pitch in 1899 for Brooklyn, 1900 for Philadelphia, and 1901 for New York to wrap up his career.

SABR writes, “Looking back more than a century, the high regard in which contemporaries held pitcher Al Maul is somewhat puzzling. The stats that he compiled during his 15-season major league tenure are far from eye-catching, and his record is dotted with extended periods of inactivity. Characteristically, his career highlights – a National League ERA crown in 1895 and a 20-win campaign three years later – are separated by seasons wherein he appeared in only a handful of games. Indeed, those two achievements aside, Maul’s work was, at best, mediocre. Yet whenever Al announced that his oft-ailing right arm was back in shape, employment awaited him. This lends itself to two conclusions: (1) Maul possessed pitching attributes not reflected in his stats that are now lost to time, or (2) a cheerful countenance, upbeat personality, and steady work habits endeared Maul to club owners and managers as much as it did to baseball fans. Whichever the case, the game provided a lifetime sinecure for Smiling Al Maul. After retirement from playing in 1901, he worked for the Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies for decades.”

tannehill

P-Jesse Tannehill, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

25-13, 2.95 ERA, 93 K, .289, 1 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. About a 66 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Jesse Niles “Tanny” or “Powder” Tannehill was born on July 14, 1874 in Dayton, KY. He started with Cincinnati in 1894 and then didn’t play in the Majors until he came to Pittsburgh in 1897, where he led the league in Fielding Independent Pitching with a 3.52 mark. This season, he showed the skills that would make him a valid Hall of Fame consideration, finishing fourth in WAR (7.7) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8). He pitched 326 2/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA and a 121 ERA+. Not a bad sophomore season.

Powder was the Pirates’ only All-Star this season. Last season’s All-Star Mike Smith was traded to Cincinnati. Pittsburgh didn’t move up in the standings, finishing eighth again, but they did have a better record, going from 53-78 to 72-76. Bill Watkins took over the reins from Pasty Donovan. Watkins had once led the 1887 Detroit Wolverines to a World Championship, but it has been 10 years since he had a winning record.

SABR says of Tannehill, “He stood only 5’8″ and weighed just 150 lbs., but Jesse Tannehill was one of the most versatile players during the Deadball Era…

“A former saloon owner and a superstitious player who wouldn’t shave on days he pitched, Tannehill had outstanding control and used his slow curve to routinely strike out twice as many as he walked, though he never did either with regularity and opted to let his defense make plays behind him.

“’I think Tannehill the greatest of living pitchers for the good reason that he was never rattled in his life,’ said his former minor league manager, Jake Wells.”

young8P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 31 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

25-13, 2.53 ERA, 101 K, .253, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.977 (7th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.463 (4th Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.84 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-Cyclone has now pitched 3353 innings through his age 31 season and his arm hasn’t fallen off, nor will fall off for many years. Young was a prime example of excellence and durability. He’s now made eight consecutive All-Star seasons, all of this for a struggling Spiders team. Well, I say struggling, but it’s nothing compared to Cleveland’s 1899 season, but, spoiler alert!, Young will not be on that team.

When you have the phenomenal Young on your team, you’re not going to ever be too bad. The Spiders finished above .500 for the seventh consecutive year as Patsy Tebeau led them to a 81-68 record.

Young finished fifth in WAR (7.6) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9) this season, pitching a third-ranked 377 2/3 innings with a 2.53 ERA and a 137 ERA+. This was Young’s lowest ERA since 1892 (1.93), but we’re now starting to enter the deadball era in baseball and good pitching stats are going to be easier to come by.

Or as SABR says about his season, “Young’s ERA improved dramatically in 1898, more than a full run, from 3.78 to 2.53. He was 25-13 for another fifth-place club. In 46 games, including 40 complete games in 41 starts, he walked only 41 batters. It was his last year pitching for Cleveland.”

Also from SABR, a Hall of Famer’s assessment of Young: “Another contemporary, Cap Anson, observed that when the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Young unleashed his speed, it seemed as if ‘the ball was shooting down from the hands of a giant.’”

cunningham

P-Bert Cunningham, Louisville Cardinals, 32 Years Old

28-15, 3.16 ERA, 34 K, .229, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as P-29

1st Time All-Star-Elmer Ellsworth “Bert” Cunningham was born on November 25, 1865 in Wilmington, DE. He started for the American Association Brooklyn Grays in 1887, moved to the 1888-89 Baltimore Orioles, pitched for the Players League Philadelphia Athletics and Buffalo Bisons in 1890, then moved back to the AA in 1891, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. After taking three years off from the Majors, Cunningham then move to the Cardinals in 1895. Coming into this season, he was 93-131 with a 4.47 ERA and an 87 ERA+. He was now 32 years old and not a great candidate for turning his career around.

Surprise! Cunningham had everything come together this season, finishing ninth in WAR (6.9) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8). He pitched 362 innings with a career-low 3.16 ERA and a 112 ERA+. His pitching helped Louisville improve from a 50-80 11th place finish in 1897 to a 70-81 ninth place finish this season. Fred Clarke again managed the team.

                Baseball Reference says, “Bert Cunningham, who pitched 12 years in the big leagues, was a veteran when Honus Wagner came up with the Louisville Colonels in 1897. In 1898, Cunningham won 28 games for the team.

“Cunningham pitched in the minors from 1892 to 1894, as well as in 1901. He also was a National League umpire for part of 1901, after having worked a few games from 1896 to 1900. In 1894 with Sioux City, he won 33 games. Source: Delaware Baseball.

“According to The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, Cunningham, who stood 5′ 5″, used a fastball and slow curve, and was proficient at ‘shadowing the ball’ where the ball was obscured by the pitcher’s uniform.”

lewis

P-Ted Lewis, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

26-8, 2.90 ERA, 72 K, .282, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.765

1st Time All-Star-Edward Morgan “Ted” or “Parson” Lewis was born on Christmas Day, 1872 in Machynlleth, United Kingdom. He was a skinny man, standing five-foot-10 and 158 pounds and had started with Boston in 1896. This was his best season ever as Lewis finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (6.3), while pitching 313 1/3 innings with a 2.90 ERA and a 128 ERA+. Lewis was good accompaniment to the great Kid Nichols. After this season, Lewis would pitch two more seasons for Boston in the National League and then one season for Boston in the American League. His career stats aren’t bad for pitching for six years, as Parson finished with a 94-64 lifetime record, along with a  3.53 ERA and 113 ERA+. Lewis also had his second consecutive league championship.

Baseball Reference reports some notable accomplishments: “Lewis was the second of three players in the major leagues from Wales. His family moved to Utica, NY, when he was eight.

“Although a college graduate, Lewis was reported to be extremely popular with his teammates on the Boston Beaneaters. Unlike many baseball players, Lewis did not drink or play on Sundays; he prayed and read the Bible daily, and invited his teammates to prayer meetings. In 1899, he earned his Masters from Williams.

“Lewis unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1910 and 1914. At his funeral, his pallbearers included Fred Tenney.”

As for the reason for his short career, Wikipedia says, “After the 1901 season, Lewis retired from baseball to teach full-time at Columbia University. He was Instructor of Elocution at Columbia until 1904, when he returned to Williams College as a public speaking instructor and was later made an assistant professor.”

hawley4

P-Pink Hawley, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1894 1895 1896

27-11, 3.37 ERA, 69 K, .185, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-SABR says, “After three seasons with the Pirates, Hawley along with pitcher Mike Smith and $1,500 cash were shipped to the Cincinnati Reds for five players in November 1897. It was believed at the time that the trade was the result of a rivalry which had developed between Hawley and Killen. The Pirates released Killen in August 1898.

“Hawley asked for and received $2,400 a year from the Reds. Pink got off to a fantastic start in Cincinnati winning his first nine games of the 1898 season. He went on to finish 27-11. His 27 wins led the Reds and were good for third in the league. The Reds, meanwhile, finished third in the league with a 92-60 record.”

That pretty much wraps it up except to say Cincinnati was managed by Buck Ewing and Hawley pitched 331 innings with a 3.37 ERA and a 114 ERA+. Hawley finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (5.9). After this season, he’d pitch for the Reds in 1899, the Giants in 1900, and the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901.

Then SABR says, “Eventually Pink gave up baseball and he and Katherine settled in his hometown of Beaver Dam where Hawley ran the local bowling alley for years. There he and Katherine raised their son who, like his father before him, attended the Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam. Emerson Jr. went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Pink spent the remainder of his life in Beaver Dam, where he succumbed after a long illness and died September 19, 1938 at the age of 65. Katherine survived him until she passed away in 1950. They are buried together at the Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam.”

kennedy3P-Brickyard Kennedy, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 30 Years Old

1893 1897

16-22, 3.37 ERA, 73 K, .252, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Kennedy wasn’t one of the National League’s great pitchers, but he was consistent and gave Brooklyn at least one pitcher on which it could rely. This season, Brickyard pitched 339 1/3 innings with a 3.37 ERA and a 107 ERA+. My guess is he’s got a fourth All-Star team left in him.

As for his team, the Bridegrooms, they struggled. Billy Barnie (15-20), Mike Griffin (1-3), and Charlie Ebbets (38-68) coached the team to a 54-91 10th place finish. It was Barnie’s last managerial gig and he finished by managing nine years with 470-548 record. Griffin nor Ebbets would ever manage again.

SABR has a good write-up, as always, of Kennedy’s 1890s career with Brooklyn, saying, “By his second campaign, Kennedy was Brooklyn’s ace and remained the club’s strongest pitcher for six seasons. His career day came on May 30, 1893, at Brooklyn when he hurled two complete-game wins against Louisville, topping Billy Rhines, 3-0, on a two-hitter in the morning game of a Memorial Day doubleheader and adding the icing to his twin-bill win cake by beating the Colonels’ most popular pitcher, Scott Stratton, 6-2, in the afternoon contest. Even in 1899, when Kennedy lost his team kingpin status to rookie 28-game winner Jay Hughes, he bagged 22 victories, and another 20 the following year after Joe McGinnity replaced Hughes as Brooklyn’s top gun.”

That’s pretty good for a man, who SABR says, “…never ventured more than a few miles east of Wheeling before making the majors and especially not to a city the size of New York or Brooklyn. The February 24, 1900, issue of The Sporting News recounted that the rookie right-hander, after winning his major-league debut on April 26, 1892, at Brooklyn by outlasting Baltimore’s Sadie McMahon 12-10, bought a loud $50 suit with his first paycheck and then took his change in dollar bills so he could flash a big wad.”

mcfarland

C-Ed McFarland, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

.282, 3 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Caught Stealing as C-107 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Edward William “Ed” McFarland was born on August 3, 1873 in Cleveland, OH. That’s the city in which he started his Major League career in 1893, playing eight games and hitting .409. He then didn’t play again until 1896 when he played for St. Louis. He moved from the Gateway City to the City of Brotherly Love in the middle of the 1897 season. He had a good season for a catcher, catching 121 games in a time when a backstop was fortunate to be over the century mark. He slashed .282/352/.375 for an OPS+ of 112, along with stealing four bases.

Philadelphia rose from 10th to sixth this season, as George Stallings (19-27) and Bill Shettsline (59-44) managed the Phillies to a 78-71 season. It was their hitting that kept them in contention as Ed Delahanty again led the team with the bat.

McFarland was a heavy drinker, but, still, according to SABR, “By the time McFarland reported in the spring of 1898, he was in fine shape and showed well enough to earn first-string standing. Writer Francis C. Richter wrote in the July 9 Sporting Life, using an archaic phrase: ‘Out-of-town critics are just beginning to realize what a really great catcher Eddie McFarland is. Wherever the Phillies play McFarland comes in for the greatest meed of praise.’ He was driving in runs and despite missing considerable time at the end of the season after having his fingernail torn off during a game in Louisville, finished the season with a career high in RBIs (71) and in runs scored (65).”

criger

C-Lou Criger, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

.279, 1 HR, 32 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Louis “Lou” Criger (rhymes with bigger) was born on February 3, 1872 in Elkhart, IN. His career slash line is .221/.295/.290 for an OPS+ 72 over 16 seasons. I bring this up because this man received Hall of Fame votes on five different occasions. As far as I can tell, it’s not for anything other than being Cy Young’s personal catcher. That’s a good gig if you can get it. Criger started with Cleveland in 1896, but played his first “fulltime” season this year, catching 82 games. He slashed .279/.377/.362 for a 115 OPS+. All four of those numbers would be career highs.

SABR sums up Criger’s career: “Feisty, slender, and packing a strong, accurate throwing arm, the smarts to call pitches for the winningest pitcher of all time, and the resiliency to last despite facing many physical ailments, catcher Lou Criger was regarded by his peers as one of the best backstops of the Deadball Era. At 5-feet-10 (some sources say six feet) and 165 pounds, Criger made an inviting target for bigger opponents, but the slender receiver took the punishment and held his ground. ‘Many players tackled Criger because he looked like a weakling,’ said Louie Heilbroner, who managed him in St. Louis before the respected receiver jumped to the American League. ‘But Criger would fight any six men on earth in those days, and if someone didn’t pull them apart, Lou would lick all six by sheer perseverance.’” His toughness would be mentioned numerous times in the article.

mcgann

1B-Dan McGann, Baltimore Orioles, 26 Years Old

.301, 5 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more seasons. 25 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Dennis Lawrence “Dan” or “Cap” McGann was born on July 15, 1871 in Shelbyville, KY. He started his career as a part-time second baseman for Boston in 1896. He played in the minors in 1897, before coming to the Orioles this year to give them a powerful infield. Wikipedia says, “The Washington Senators of the NL purchased McGann, Butts Wagner, Bob McHale and Cooney Snyder from Toronto for $8,500 ($244,698 in current dollar terms) on September 22, 1897. The Senators traded McGann with Gene DeMontreville and Doc McJames to the Baltimore Orioles of the NL for Doc Amole, Jack Doyle and Heinie Reitz that December. He played one season with the Orioles, in which he batted .301 with 106 runs batted in (RBI) in 1898, good for fifth place in the NL.” This was McGann’s best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.2), slashing .301/.404/.393 with an OPS+ of 126. The big man also stole 33 bases. McGann’s problem over his career was putting together full seasons. He missed a multitude of games over his 12-years of baseball.

Like his teammate Hughie Jennings, McGann developed a talent for being plunked. He finished second in hit by pitches this season with 39 and would be in the top 10 in that category 10 times, leading the league six times and being seventh all-time in hitting the baseball with his body. Baltimore batters were hit by pitches 160 times. Second place in that category was St. Louis with 84. The Orioles would do anything to win.

joyce4

1B-Bill Joyce, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1891 1894 1896

.258, 10 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-60

Power-Speed #-15.5 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-87

Errors Committed as 1B-47

4th Time All-Star-Joyce made the All-Star team as New York’s best player, but would never play Major League ball after this year. His season wasn’t great – he slashed .258/.386/.392 with 34 stolen bases and a 125 OPS+ — but it’s not a bad way to end a career. It’s also his first All-Star team as a first baseman, the other three were at third. And Joyce managed the team, guiding the Giants to a 68-60 record, before being replaced by Cap Anson, coaching for the very last time, who went 9-13 in his 22 games. Altogether New York finished 77-73 and in seventh place.

Here’s SABR’s description of a game in 1898 which pretty much ended his career: “The low point came in Washington on September 29. The Giants trailed the Senators, 12-1, in the seventh inning when umpire Tommy Connolly ejected Giants catcher Jack Warner for arguing a call. To protest the ejection, Joyce made a farce of the game by shifting his players to unfamiliar positions, including himself to right field.

“’ “Man after man [on the Senators] would come to the bat, hit the ball and run the bases at will, while the misfits filling the positions were [deliberately] making fools out of themselves throwing the ball around the lot.’

“The Washington Times declared, ‘Nothing more disgraceful was ever seen on a ball field, and no penalty known in baseball law would be adequate punishment for the offender, Bill Joyce. … The Giants looked upon the proceedings as a huge joke, and ‘Scrappy Bill’ from the right garden smiled with ghoulish glee.’ The umpires ‘endured the disgraceful exhibition for several minutes’ before the game was called, and the Giants ‘left the field amid the jeers of the spectators.’”

demontreville2

2B-Gene DeMontreville, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1896

.328, 0 HR, 86 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-DeMontreville last made the All-Star team as a shortstop in 1896 for Washington. He was now a second baseman for the Orioles after being traded by the Washington Senators with Dan McGann and Doc McJames to Baltimore for Doc Amole, Jack Doyle and Heinie Reitz after the 1897 season. He’d spend most of the rest of his career at second base. DeMontreville was part of Baltimore’s All-Star infield, as every infielder made the team this year. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.0), slashing .328/.394/.369 with 49 stolen bases and a 117 OPS+. His OBP was his career high.

SABR says, “After being traded to Baltimore, Demontreville continued to hit for average, but his power numbers dropped and he was criticized by Hanlon for persistently ‘advancing a step or two’ after fielding a ball before throwing it to first base. Baltimore still was able to unload him when the Chicago Natonals’ manager, Tom Burns, desperately wanted to get rid of ‘disorganizer’ Dahlen. Demontreville lasted only four months in Chicago when he ‘mixed with the worst set in the team,’ according to the Chicago Tribune, and showed up for a game with a head injury from being beaned by a popcorn bowl another bar patron threw at him. On August 2, 1899, he was returned to Baltimore for lightly regarded infielder George Magoon. The following day Demontreville was involved in a controversial nontrade when he and pitcher Jerry Nops were shipped to Brooklyn for sore-armed shortstop Hughie Jennings, who was nearing the end of the road as an impact player. The deal was canceled before any of the figures could report to their new clubs after the press in the other NL cities yowled that ‘Brooklyn was being strengthened by their Baltimore farm team.’”

mcgraw33B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1893 1895

.342, 0 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager).

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-143

Bases on Balls-112

Times on Base-307

3rd Time All-Star-There are some adjectives that fit people so well, they almost become part of their name. That’s why you always see the Baltimore third baseman referred to as the fiery McGraw. He was small and tough and this wouldn’t change when he eventually became a manager. Mugsy could also play baseball. This season, McGraw finished eighth in WAR (7.1), second in WAR Position Players (7.1), second in Offensive WAR (6.7), third in batting average (.342), second in on-base percentage (.475), second in Adjusted Batting Runs (45), and second in Adjusted Batting Wins (4.6), not to mention the categories above in which he placed first. Baltimore didn’t lack for a spark plug in the fiery McGraw.

Off the field, according to the book “John McGraw” written by Charles C. Alexander, McGraw had a different reputation. Alexander writes, “In 1898, though, McGraw was still just a ballplayer, albeit a very good one – and a fairly well-off young man as well. He was well enough off to concern himself closely with the well-being of Billy Earle, a former catcher in the Association and the National League, whom McGraw had first got to know in New Orleans in 1891, at the time of Al Lawson’s aborted second Cuban expedition. Since then Earle, succumbing to morphine addiction, had become a derelict wandering the streets of Washington. McGraw had heard about Earle’s plight, brought him to Baltimore, had him admitted to City Hospital, and paid the costs of his six-week treatment.” Apparently, McGraw helped many others also.

collinsj2

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Beaneaters, 28 Years Old

1897

.328, 15 HR, 111 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-286

Home Runs-15

Runs Created-106

AB per HR-39.8

Def. Games as 3B-152 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-243 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Collins helped lead the Beaneaters to their second straight title with his second straight impressive season. He finished ninth in WAR (6.9), third in WAR Position Players (6.9), fourth in Offensive WAR (5.6), and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.9). Collins also slashed .328/.377/.479 with 12 stolen bases and a 139 OPS+. That slugging mark placed second in the National League. Collins’ 15 homers was an aberration as he would never hit more than seven in any other season. He was a great all-around player who would end up being one of the American League’s first superstars.

For the Boston third sacker, it was all about the Benjamins. As SABR adroitly points out, “Collins was a businessman in a baseball uniform. In an interview with the Buffalo Evening News just a few weeks before his death, he gave writer Cy Kritzer an encyclopedic recall of his salary levels as a ballplayer, practically gloating about once earning $18,000 in one year, but yet, as Kritzer related, ‘he couldn’t recall once during the interview the size of his batting average in any one season.’ It wasn’t just about acquiring money, though. Collins used his baseball income to develop a real-estate business by building multifamily rental housing, which provided his income after his playing days…

“Collins quietly negotiated a contract with [Boston owner Arthur] Soden to be paid the $2,400 salary maximum for the 1898 season. After three years as a National League ballplayer, the 28-year-old Collins had reached the pinnacle of his profession. However, because the National League owners lengthened the baseball season by 22 games to play 154 games in 1898, Collins felt duped by Soden, since Collins actually received just a minimal pay increase on a per-game basis.”

wallace

3B-Bobby Wallace, Cleveland Spiders, 24 Years Old

.270, 3 HR, 99 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Roderick John “Bobby” Wallace was born on November 4, 1873 in Pittsburgh, PA. He started as a pitcher for Cleveland in 1894-95, before moving to the outfield in 1896  and then to third base in 1897. Next season, Wallace will play shortstop as his Hall of Fame career kicks into high gear. This season, he finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.7) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.4). While the five-foot-eight, 170 pound third baseman would have decent offensive production, it would be his glove work which would eventually put him in the Hall. Wallace did manage to slash .270/.344/.371 with seven stolen bases and a 108 OPS+ this season. Like I said, decent, but he’s on this team because of his fielding.

Wallace’s Hall of Fame page tells us, “Bobby Wallace made his major league debut in 1894, taking the mound for the Cleveland Spiders. In a few short years, he evolved into one of the best shortstops the game has ever seen.

“He pitched for a starting rotation that included Cy Young and in his first full season he won 12 of his 26 decisions. Though his pitching wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive to the team’s management, the level of athleticism he displayed was enough for them to start giving him chances at other positions.

“The versatile player’s best season came in 1897 when he batted .335 with 173 hits in 130 games while playing third base full time. He drove in a team-leading 112 runs, scored 99 runs, and hit 33 triples and 21 doubles.”

cross2

3B-Lave Cross, St. Louis Browns, 32 Years Old

1894

.317, 3 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 3B-351 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.945 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Cross was hurt by playing in the era of Jimmy Collins and John McGraw at third base and because he played for a weak St. Louis team. He held his own, especially with the glove, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.3) at the hot corner. He was the Browns’ best player and only All-Star. At the plate, Cross slashed .317/.348/.405 with 14 stolen bases and a 114 OPS+. Even though he’s 32, Cross still has some decent years ahead.

And even though it doesn’t look like it, the Browns, someday to be the Cardinals, have decent years ahead also. Just don’t judge them by this year in which one-time manager Tim Hurst led St. Louis to a last-place 39-111 record. They had two main problems – they couldn’t score and they couldn’t stop the other team from scoring. Besides that, they were fine.

Wikipedia has a wrap up of his career since his last All-Star team in 1895: “Playing exclusively at third in 1895, he led the NL in assists and fielding average for the first time. He also became a solid hitter, batting a career-high .386 with 125 RBI and 123 runs in 1894; on April 24 of that year, he hit for the cycle. During this period, major league rules did not restrict the size of infielders’ gloves, and he continued to use his catcher’s mitt in the field; on August 5, 1897 he set a still-standing record at second base with 15 assists in a 12-inning game.”

Jennings Hugh 1500.68WT_FL_PDSS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

1894 1895 1896 1897

.328, 1 HR, 87 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Probably not)

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.5 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-6.9 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-46 (5th Time)

5th Time All-Star-It’s hard to believe a player as good as Jennings isn’t going to make my Hall of Fame, but that seems to be the case. For four straight years, Ee-yah has been the best position player in the National League, and for five straight years, he has made the All-Star team. However, those are five of the six years in his career he played 117 games or above. After this year, when Jennings turns 30, he’s going to play 10 seasons, only one of which he’ll play over 100 games and only three of which he’ll play over 50. Cooperstown obviously thought his great stretch of five years was enough to put him in the Hall and Jennings lucked out in having those five seasons during one of baseball’s greatest hitting eras. For me, he needed just a bit more longevity.

This season, Jennings finished seventh in WAR (7.5), first in WAR Position Players (7.5), first in Offensive WAR (6.9), and 10th in Defensive WAR (1.3). He slashed .328/.454/.421 with 28 stolen bases and a 149 OPS+. His on-base percentage was third in the league.

After this year, Jennings would play for Brooklyn and Baltimore in 1899, Brooklyn in 1900, Philadelphia in 1901-02, and then play six or less games for Detroit in 1907, 1909-10, 1912, and 1918.

Jennings managed the American League Detroit Tigers from 1907-20 and according to Wikipedia, “During his years as Detroit’s manager, Jennings became famous for his antics, mostly in the third base coaching box, which variously included shouts of ‘Ee-Yah’, and other whoops, whistles, horns, gyrations, jigs, and grass-plucking. The ‘Ee-Yah’ whoop became his trademark and was accompanied with waves of both arms over his head and a sharp raising of his right knee. In 1907, he was suspended for taunting opponents with a tin whistle. The ‘Ee-Yah’ shouts continued and became such a trademark that Jennings became known as Hughie ‘Ee-Yah’ Jennings, and Detroit fans would shout ‘Ee-Yah’ when Jennings appeared on the field.”

Dahlen William 1895-68WTb_HS_PDSS-Bill Dahlen, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

1892 1896

.290, 1 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-77

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.46 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Bad Bill is back on the All-Star team after not making it in 1897, when injuries allowed him to play only 75 games. This season, Dahlen finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.7), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.8), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.9). He had great range at shortstop, but also continued producing with the stick, slashing .290/.385/.393 with 27 stolen bases and a 123 OPS+. He’d never have this high of Adjusted OPS+ for the rest of his career, but his decent hitting and great fielding would carry him. Dahlen could be entering Ron’s Hall at any time.

The Sporting News has an article debating why Dahlen is not in the Hall. It doesn’t seem to be his stats as much as his attitude. Here are some snippits from TSN: “[Baseball writer Bill] James wrote in his 2001 historical abstract that Dahlen drank excessively, to the point it threatened his career and he sobered. Out of baseball, Dahlen resumed drinking, with former manager John McGraw saving him from destitution with a night watchman job at his former ballpark, the Polo Grounds.

“The Chicago Inter Ocean of January 4, 1901 reported Dahlen’s wife suing for divorce, alleging he choked her in February 1897 and struck her that December. The suit also claimed Dahlen had threatened his wife’s life and used ‘vile, abusive, and opprobrious language’ toward her.

“Dahlen spent his first eight seasons in Chicago and might have become captain in 1898 because the team president thought ‘that, with added responsibility and honors upon his shoulders the erratic shortstop may be induced to work harder (and more often, mayhap).’” Fat, drunk, and stupid is now way to go through life, son.

delahanty6

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

.334, 4 HR, 92 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-58

Adj. Batting Runs-45 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.6 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-It’s astonishing to look at the stats of Big Ed Delahanty year after year. It’s even more fun to read the write-ups about the power he brought to the field. Had he played in a more homer-prevalent era, Delahanty would have been among the league leaders in dingers. At this point in baseball history, Big Ed has made the most All-Star teams at his position. Here are the rankings:

P-Tim Keefe (11 All-Star teams made)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (6)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

Delahanty finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.1); third in Offensive WAR (5.9), behind Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (6.9) and John McGraw (6.7); sixth in batting average (.334); fifth in on-base percentage (.426); fourth in slugging (.454); first in stolen bases (58); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind former teammate, Boston’s Billy Hamilton (161). Just a typical season for Big Ed.

SABR says, “At his accustomed position, left field, Delahanty ranked among the league’s best. He became known for his strong arm, which he used to collect 238 career assists, and his hustling style of play, which helped him to reach balls lesser outfielders allowed to drop in for base hits. That same aggressiveness carried over to the basepaths, as Delahanty swiped 455 bases in his career, including a league best 58 in 1898.” Big Ed was the original five-tool player.

selbach2

LF-Kip Selbach, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1897

.303, 3 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.63

2nd Time All-Star-Selbach was Washington’s only All-Star representative this year. I mean it’s not like Washington had a whole house of representatives! I’m here all week. Kip slashed .303/383/.417 with 25 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 129. The rotund leftfielder had great range in the outfield as seen by his league-leading total of 2.63 chances per game.

As for the Senators, they thanked the good Lord for the St. Louis Browns, which was the only team to fall behind them. Tom Brown (12-26), Jack Doyle (8-9), Deacon McGuire (29-47), and Arthur Irwin (10-19) guided the team to an 11th place 51-101 record. McGuire would coach in the 1900s and never finish above .500 and Irwin would manage Washington in 1899 to another terrible year.

SABR says, “Manager Buck Ewing of the Cincinnati Reds was after Selbach, and persistent, at one point offering Washington five players for him. Selbach’s performance dropped off some in 1898, when he played under a parade of four different managers, but he still hit .303. In the offseason, Selbach took up work as steward at the Philos Club, a gymnastic club in Columbus.

“On Christmas Day, Cincinnati owner John T. Brush announced the purchase of Selbach’s contract from Washington, for a reported $5,000 – a very large sum at the time. Kip wasn’t all that happy playing in Cincinnati in 1899 and around the end of July was already saying he’d like to be back in Washington in 1900.”

hamilton9CF-Billy Hamilton, Boston Beaneaters, 32 Years Old, 1898 ONEHOF Inductee

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897

.369, 3 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.480 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.933 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-161 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.814 (3rd Time)

9th Time All-Star-At 32 years old and after making nine straight All-Star teams, Sliding Billy Hamilton is now inducted into the One-a-Year Hall of Fame and well deserves it. His career numbers are a .344 batting average, 40 home runs, 742 runs batted it, and a 63.3 WAR. Welcome to the ONEHOF, Billy. Next year’s nominees are King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Cy Young, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, and Cupid Childs.

Hamilton led Boston to its second straight National League title. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.6); fifth in Offensive WAR (5.2); second in batting average (.369), behind only Baltimore’s Willie Keeler (.385); first in on-base percentage (.480); fifth in slugging (.453); second in stolen bases (54), behind only former teammate Ed Delahanty (58); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (161). All of this despite playing only 110 of Boston’s 154 games. And he’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

You might be wondering why Keeler, who hit .385 with 216 hits to lead the league in both categories, isn’t on this team. Well, first of all, there’s a lot of good outfielders in the National League. Also, incredibly, just 10 of those 216 hits by Keeler were for extra bases. Those 206 singles were the all-time record until that mark was broken by Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 with 225. However, at least Ichiro had 37 extra base hits to go with those singles. High batting averages don’t always tell the whole story.

flick

RF-Elmer Flick, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

.302, 8 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. See you in the Hall)

 

1st Time All-Star-Elmer Harrison Flick was born on January 11, 1876 in Bedford, OH. He made the All-Star team in his rookie year and will eventually make my Hall of Fame, probably around 1905, and made Cooperstown in 1963 by a Veteran’s Committee vote. This season, Flick finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.9); eighth in Offensive WAR (4.7); fourth in on-base percentage (.430); sixth in slugging (.448); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (156), behind Boston’s Billy Hamilton (161) and teammate Ed Delahanty (156). The Phillies never lacked for outfielders.

Flick wasn’t a big man, standing five-foot-nine, 168 pounds, but he hit with some pop over his career. Wikipedia says, “George Stallings, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League (NL), noticed Flick while he played for Dayton. Stallings signed Flick to the Phillies to serve as a reserve outfielder for the team in the 1898 season. Starting outfielder Sam Thompson injured his back after six games, forcing Stallings to play Flick. In his debut game, Flick went 2-for-3 with two singles against Fred Klobedanz. Thompson returned to the team briefly, but reinjured his back and announced his retirement in May, allowing Flick to play regularly. Flick proved himself a capable big leaguer, batting .302 with eight home runs, 13 triples and 81 runs batted in (RBIs).” Yes, you may have noticed Flick took over for the great Sam Thompson, who played 14 games, slashed .349/.388/.571 and then had to retire with that bad back. He was 38 years old already, so he probably didn’t have too much time left, but who knows what Thompson’s numbers could have been if he didn’t miss almost all of 1897 and 1898.

1897 National League All-Star Team

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Ted Breitenstein, CIN

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Jack Powell, CLV

P-Win Mercer, WHS

P-Billy Rhines, CIN

P-Frank Dwyer, CIN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

C-Klondike Douglass, STL

C-Deacon McGuire, WHS

1B-Nap Lajoie, PHI

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-Jimmy Collins, BSN

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

SS-George Davis, NYG

SS-Monte Cross, STL

LF-Fred Clarke, LOU

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Joe Kelley, BLN

LF-Kip Selbach, WHS

LF-Mike Smith, PIT

CF-Billy Hamilton, BSN

RF-Willie Keeler, BLN

 

nichols8

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old, 1897 ONEHOF Inductee

31-11, 2.64 ERA, 127 K, .265, 3 HR, 28 RBI

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1897)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.3 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.9 (3rd Time)

Wins-31 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.168 (2nd Time)

Saves-3 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-368

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.868 (4th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-168 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-72 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.6 (3rd Time)

8th Time All-Star-After eight dominating seasons in a row — seven of which Nichols pitched his way to the top 10 in WAR; all of which he made the top six in WAR for Pitchers – of course, Kid made the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame of my invention that inducts one player per calendar year. It’s more difficult to make than the Cooperstown Hall of Fame or my Hall of Fame, which will induct players at the drop of a hat. Here are the ONEHOF Nominees for 1898: King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Billy Hamilton, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, and Cy Young.

As for this season, Nichols dominated, leading the league in WAR (11.3) and WAR for Pitchers (10.9). He also pitched a National League-leading 368 innings with a 2.64 ERA, second only to New York’s Rusie (2.54), and a league-leading Adjusted ERA+ of 168.

This helped the Beaneaters knock the Baltimore Orioles out of first place and take the NL crown. It wasn’t easy, as Boston won the league by just two games. Baltimore couldn’t battle for the championship either, because the days of the Temple Cup were gone.  It certainly wasn’t a good start for Boston, as they were 10-10 after May 18 and seven-and-a-half games out of first. It then won 35 of its next 39 games and the Beaneaters were up by five-and-a-half games after July 6. The rest of the season was a battle between Boston and Baltimore, which the Beaneaters wrapped up by beating the Orioles two out of three towards the end of the season.

rusie7P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895

28-10, 2.54 ERA, 135 K, .278, 0 HR, 22 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1897 NL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.54 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Rusie, the troublemaker, is back. Read his 1895 blurb for why he missed the 1896 season and why he’s back this year. Taking a year off from pitching didn’t seem to affect the Hoosier Thunderbolt, as he finished second to Boston’s Kid Nichols in WAR (11.3-8.8) and second to Nichols in WAR for Pitchers (10.9-8.4). He pitched 322 1/3 innings with a National League-leading 2.54 ERA and a second-to-Nichols Adjusted ERA (168-163).

As for the Giants, having their ace back helped them move from seventh place in 1896 to third place this season with an 83-48 record. Bill Joyce managed his first full season for the Giants at the age of 29 and has only one season left. New York finished nine-and-a-half games behind first-place Boston, but it was never really in the hunt.

There is a good possibility this is Rusie’s last All-Star game. He would win 20 for the Giants in 1898, but his innings “fell” to 300 and his ERA “rose” to 3.03. He had good numbers and would make a billion dollars for those stats nowadays, but he was declining.

And injured. Wikipedia wraps up his career, saying, “Following the 1898 season, a combination of hearing damage from a line drive to the head, arm trouble, and personal problems kept him out of baseball for two years. In 1900, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Christy Mathewson. In 1901, Rusie pitched poorly in three games before retiring. He finished his career with 245 wins, 174 losses, 1,934 strikeouts and a 3.07 ERA.”

breitenstein5

P-Ted Breitenstein, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896

23-12, 3.62 ERA, 98 K, .266, 0 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. About 15 percent chance)

 

5th Time All-Star-Next season, Breitenstein wins 20 games and it’s really his last chance at making an All-Star team. However, if he does so, he’s going to make Ron’s Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame of my own creation and players like him are exactly the reason I created it. See, people like Cap Anson made Cooperstown, Ron’s, and ONEHOF with no difficulties. It’s the same with people like Cy Young and Dan Brouthers. However, Breitenstein was a left-handed workhorse who, every season, was put on the mound multiple games by whatever team for which he pitched. He would compile a 51.5 lifetime WAR and be one of the top players in the game year-after-year. He’s made this All-Star team five straight times. He’s a borderline candidate for Cooperstown, but if he makes my Hall of Fame next season, I’ll feel no guilt despite his lifetime 160-170 record.

With the Reds purchasing Breitenstein from the Cardinals, it looked like they had the one piece they needed to lead them to a league title. Unfortunately, the Reds declined from third to fourth as Buck Ewing’s squad finished 76-56. They definitely had pitching, finishing fifth in runs allowed, but they couldn’t hit, finishing eighth in the league in runs scored.

For the season, Breitenstein finished third in WAR (8.2), behind Boston pitcher Kid Nichols (11.3) and New York hurler Amos Rusie (8.8), and third in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), behind the same two, Nichols (10.9) and Rusie (8.4). He pitched 320 1/3 innings with a 3.62 ERA and a 125 ERA+.

young7P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 30 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896

21-19, 3.78 ERA, 88 K, .222, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.314 (6th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Once players turn 30 in this great sport of baseball, they tend to decline. In the 1800s, it was no different, especially for pitchers. There’s a whole boatload of hurlers of which I wrote who had two or three fantastic seasons and then fell apart. Cyclone turned 30 this season and had his worst season in a while. It wouldn’t have been surprising if this was the beginning of the end. However, because we can cheat and see the future, we know he’s nowhere near done and Young still has incredible career ahead. He’s up to 216 wins through 1897 and will win 295 more.

The sad part is his good pitching isn’t helping his team. Patsy Tebeau led the Spiders to a 69-62 record, 23-and-a-half games out of first. They have a couple good pitchers, but besides their All-Star second baseman, Cupid Childs, not much in the way of offense.

Young finished sixth in WAR (6.9) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.5). He pitched 335 2/3 innings with a 3.78 ERA and a 123 ERA+. It was the only time from 1891-1905 that Cyclone didn’t finish in the top 10 in ERA in his league. He also threw a gem, according to Wikipedia, which says, “On September 18, 1897, Young pitched the first no-hitter of his career in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Although Young did not walk a batter, the Spiders committed four errors while on defense. One of the errors had originally been ruled a hit, but the Cleveland third baseman sent a note to the press box after the eighth inning, saying he had made an error, and the ruling was changed. Young later said, that, despite his teammate’s gesture, he considered the game to be a one-hitter.”

powell

P-Jack Powell, Cleveland Spiders, 22 Years Old

15-10, 3.16 ERA, 61 K, .206, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. About 80 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-John Joseph “Red” or “Jack” Powell was born on July 9, 1874 in Bloomington, IL. He started off his long career on fire and though he’s not in the category of Kid Nichols, Amos Rusie, or teammate Cy Young, his durability is going to get him a real look at making my Hall of Fame. He’s never received even a sniff from Cooperstown, which probably looked at his lifetime 245-254 record and ignored him. But Powell pitched well for some bad teams and shouldn’t be penalized for that.

This season, he finished 10th in WAR (5.5) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.0). He only started 26 games, pitching 225 innings, and had a 3.16 ERA and a 147 ERA+. Both of those latter figures are better than Young, but Cyclone pitched over 100 more innings than Powell.

Just a tidbit for your amusement. Of all the players of which I’ve written, Powell is the first one to have a color picture of himself posted on his Baseball Reference page.

Look at this story from SABR: “Perhaps no player in history experienced a more difficult major league debut than Jack Powell. He joined the Spiders in May of 1897, and saw action at first base in a game at Cleveland on Sunday, May 16. Sunday baseball was illegal in the city of Cleveland at that time, but team owner Frank Robison defied the local ordinance and scheduled the game on the Christian Sabbath. The local authorities called Robison’s bluff, and after one inning was completed, police invaded the field and arrested all the players on both teams, plus umpire Tim Hurst. They were soon released on $100 bail each, but the authorities decided to prosecute one participant in the contest to test the validity of the law. Powell, an easily expendable rookie, was the only Spider charged with violating the ban on Sunday ball, and remained in Cleveland to await trial while his teammates embarked on a road trip. In June, Powell was tried and convicted of playing ball on Sunday. He was fined five dollars, with an additional $153 tacked on for court costs.”

mercer

P-Win Mercer, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

21-10, 3.18 ERA, 91 K, .317, 0 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-47

Saves-3

Games Started-43

Shutouts-3

Hit By Pitch-28

Def. Games as P-47

1st Time All-Star-George Barclay “Win” Mercer was born on June 20, 1874 in Chester, WV. He’s been a regular pitcher with the Senators since 1894, but this is his first All-Star team. This season, Mercer finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5), pitching 342 innings with a 3.18 ERA and a 135 ERA+. For someone with a nickname of Win, it’s ironic this is only one of two seasons in which he had a winning season.

Of course it’s hard for a pitcher to win if his team doesn’t and Mercer’s team didn’t do so too often. Gus Schmelz (9-25) and Tom Brown (52-46) led the team to a sixth place 61-17 record. After 11 seasons with five different teams, it would be the last year as a manager for Schmelz, who finished with a lifetime 624-703 record. As for Brown, it looks his managerial career is off to a heck of a start, but next season will be his last.

                You might not be able to tell from the picture above, but apparently Mercer was quite a looker. Wikipedia says, “According to a biography of Mercer published by SABR, Mercer was a fan favorite, especially with women. He reportedly was ‘young and handsome with piercing dark eyes, and an outgoing personality.’ According to one account (Nash and Zullo, ‘Turnstile Turnoffs’ in “The Baseball Hall of Shame” (1985)), the ladies loved Mercer, and he ‘loved the ladies.’ Playing on Mercer’s popularity with the ladies, Washington liked to pitch Mercer on Tuesdays and Fridays, which were designated ‘Ladies’ Days.’ One Ladies’ Day game in 1897 ended in shambles when women rioted after Umpire Bill Carpenter ejected Mercer. According to Nash and Zullo, ‘an army of angry females poured out of the stands. They surrounded Carpenter, shoved him to the ground and ripped his clothing. Finally, police brought the situation under control.’”

rhines2

P-Billy Rhines, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1890

21-15, 4.08 ERA, 65 K, .159, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-It’s a big gap between Rhines’ first All-Star team and his second. After pitching 401 1/3 innings in his rookie year of 1890, it took a while before he was a fulltime pitcher again. Well, okay, he was a fulltime pitcher in 1891, but in 1892, he pitched only 74 2/3 innings for the Reds, then was off to Louisville in 1893. He didn’t pitch in the Major Leagues in 1894 and then found himself back with the Reds in 1895. In 1896, Rhimes pitched only 143 innings, but led the National League in ERA, and then doubled that amount this season, pitching 288 2/3 frames, with a 4.08 ERA and a 111 ERA+. Bunker finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2).

SABR says of Rhines’ 1897 season, “The next season Rhines compiled a 21-15 record with a 4.08 ERA. On August 7, 1897, he ‘had not only speed, but grand command and the best use of his famous underhand ball,’ in a three-hit shutout of the Louisville Colonels. Louisville’s Honus Wagner, a 23-year-old rookie, went hitless in the game.” (I get the feeling we’ll be seeing that name quite a bit in this list).

More from SABR: “Rhines pitched for an All-American team on a barnstorming tour with the Baltimore Orioles from October to December, 1897. In the midst of the tour, the Reds traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“A longtime bachelor, Rhines got married in 1912 at age 43, to 23-year-old Kozie Lorraine Milliron. By 1920 they had four children and Billy operated a taxi service. After a long illness, he died of heart disease on January 30, 1922, in Ridgway, at the age of 52.”

dwyer5

P-Frank Dwyer, Cincinnati Reds, 29 Years Old

1892 1894 1895 1896

18-13, 3.78 ERA, 41 K, .266, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-My guess is you’ve never heard of Dwyer, I know I hadn’t, but in the 1890s, he consistently pitched his way to being one of the National League’s best players. He was certainly the best the Reds had to offer during that time, though this season they have three pitchers on the All-Star team. Despite the pitching of Dwyer, Ted Breitenstein, and Billy Rhines, Cincinnati finished middle of the road with a 4.09 ERA. The problem was when one of the Big Three wasn’t pitching, the team’s ERA was about one whole run higher (3.83-to-4.82). Also, the Reds’ record was 63-40 in games in which they garnered the decision and 13-16 in games they didn’t.

As for his career, Wikipedia says, “In 12 seasons he had a 176–152 win-loss record, 365 games (318 started), 270 complete games, 12 shutouts, 6 saves, 2,810 innings pitched, 3,301 hits allowed, 1,782 runs allowed, 1,202 earned runs allowed, 109 home runs allowed, 764 walks allowed, 563 strikeouts, and a 3.85 ERA. On June 23, 1896, Dwyer gave up Roger Connor‘s 123rd homer, breaking Harry Stovey‘s previous record of 122. Connor’s record of 138 would eventually be broken by Babe Ruth.

“He later served as the second manager of the Detroit Tigers, managing for one season in 1902. Dwyer briefly umpired in the NL in 1899 and 1901, and in American League in 1904; during which he umpired Cy Young‘s perfect game.

“He died on February 4, 1943 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at the age of 74.”

griffith3

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Colts, 27 Years Old

1894 1895

21-18, 3.72 ERA, 102 K, .235, 0 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes as Pioneer/Executive. No as Player

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-38

3rd Time All-Star-Now Griffith did make Cooperstown as a Pioneer/Executive, though he didn’t make it as a player. And I’m sure it doesn’t matter to the Griffith family, just as Pete Rose would be happy to make the Hall of Fame in any capacity. He could go in as Best Gambler and he’d still go diving head first into the Hall, proclaiming his greatness. However, Griffith was a great pitcher and definitely should be in as a player. Don’t worry, Clark, Ron’s Hall of Fame is here to right wrongs and you’ll be inducted in within the next few years.

Cap Anson started playing Major League ball in 1871 for the National Association Rockford Forest Cities, then moved to the NA Philadelphia Athletics the next season. Then the National League formed in 1876 and Anson moved to Chicago, where he played through this season. He played 27 Major League seasons, which would be a record if the NA counted. I have no doubt Anson’s the greatest player up to this time. If I had my Hall of Fame up and running then, he would have made it in 1876, the first year of the NL.

I base my All-Star teams and Halls of Fame purely on numbers, I don’t look into the dark soul of a man. Anson receives vitriol for his part in keeping blacks out of baseball from 1884-to-1947 and that’s understandable. I’m sure if we redid the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, the writers would keep him out. But purely for what he did on the field, Cap Anson (Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds….) deserves to be in and I’m glad he is.

kennedy2

P-Brickyard Kennedy, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 29 Years Old

1893

18-20, 3.91 ERA, 81 K, .272, 1 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been a few years since Kennedy made the All-Star team. He’s been pitching consistently for Brooklyn, but not good enough to be one of the league’s elite. This season, Kennedy tossed 343 1/3 innings, with a 3.91 ERA and a 105 ERA+. He was Brooklyn’s best player.

Well, if Kennedy’s a team’s best player, that team didn’t do too well, and it’s true of the Bridegrooms, who finished in seventh place with a 61-71 record. Billy Barnie, who last coached for the Louisville Colonels in 1894, came back to manage Brooklyn.

                We know Kennedy was known as Roaring Bill and Brickyard. SABR speaks more of his many names, “According to the July 8, 1893, Sporting Life, he was also known sometimes by what some sources still today believe was his middle name: ‘They call Kennedy “Park.” He is a Bellaire, O., boy, and was once called “Wheeling’s brickyard phenomenon.” He has an arm of iron.’ However, early encyclopedias list Kennedy by the middle initial of V., full middle name unknown, and both William O’Neill in The Dodgers Encyclopedia and Kennedy’s great grandnephew Scott Thomas Kennedy bear this out. Kennedy’s obituary in his local paper, the Daily Independent of Bellaire, Ohio, on September 25, 1915, furthermore illuminates that he was known to friends not as Park, the putative middle name assigned him by Sporting Life years earlier, but as ‘Perk,’ simply a nickname.” He’s still got a shot at another All-Star team and will also pitch in the first official World Series in 1903.

douglass

C-Klondike Douglass, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

.328, 6 HR, 50 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 61 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Bingham “Klondike” Douglass was born on May 10, 1872 in Boston, PA. He started his career with the Browns in 1896, playing mainly in the outfield. He would be primarily a catcher this season, but for the rest of his career he’d mainly play at first base. If Douglass played any other position this season, he’s not making the All-Star team. Klondike had career highs in batting average (.328) and on-base percentage (.402), along with slugging .403 and stealing 12 bases. He had a career high Adjusted OPS+ of 115.

Wikipedia has a wrap-up of his career from baseball historian Jesus Francisco Cabrera, who writes, “Douglass came to the majors in 1896 as the Cardinals’ left fielder, but fielded only .894, low even for those days, and had poor range. He was primarily a catcher in 1897, and hit .329. He was the everyday first baseman for the Phillies in 1898, and hit .258 with 105 runs scored in his best season. Moved back and forth between catcher and 1B in subsequent seasons, he was never again an everyday player.”

Can you name famous catchers from the early days of baseball? The first that leaps to mind for me is Ernie Lombardi, but he played in the 1930s. Then I think of Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella, but that’s the 1950s. It’s difficult to name catchers from this early era, because they didn’t play enough games to build up stats and also because they were so beat up, they weren’t normally good hitters.

mcguire5

C-Deacon McGuire, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1890 1891 1895 1896

.343, 4 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Back in 1891, I said McGuire had made his last All-Star team and now he’s made three more since. It is extremely difficult to just look at stats and gauge All-Star worthiness for catchers, because most of the time players played about half the games behind the plate, because of the brutality of the position. McGuire would wind up his career catching 1,612 games over 25 seasons, which was incredible for his time. He had his highest batting average ever this season at .343, along with having an on-base percentage of .386, slugging average of .474, stealing nine bases, and having an OPS+ of 127. Those are good stats for anybody, very good for those who wore the tools of ignorance.

                If you go to Wikipedia, there’s an x-ray of McGuire’s hand. The article says, “In 1907, newspapers across the country published an x-ray of McGuire’s left hand, showing ‘36 breaks, twists or bumps all due to baseball accidents.’ The text accompanying the widely published photograph noted: ‘When the picture was developed the photographer was amazed to see the knots, like gnarled places on an old oak tree, around the joints, and numerous spots showing old breaks. In several joints the bones are flattened and pushed to the side.’” Teammate Sam Crane said, “His big, brawny, strong hands, now grotesquely disfigured by the continuous battering they have received from the viciously wicked inshoots, curves, slants and benders of the speediest pitchers known in the long history of the game, have acted as an unflinchable barrier to the accumulation of momentum that if concentrated would have an irresistible force capable of crushing a battleship or of pulverizing a backstop construction of Harveyized steel armor plate.”

lajoie

1B-Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 Years Old

.361, 9 HR, 127 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: No (Will require two more All-Star seasons. Definitely)

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.569

Total Bases-310

Extra Base Hits-72

1st Time All-Star-Napoleon “Nap” or “Larry” or “Poli” Lajoie (pronounced Lah-ZWHA or LAJ-way) was born on September 5, 1874 in Woonsocket, RI. Hey, I’ve heard of him! Whenever I’ve seen his name, I pronounced it Luh-JOY. Well, I get the feeling I’m going to get plenty of chances to practice his name, because Lajoie is going to make these All-Star teams frequently. He will make the ONEHOF at some time and my Hall of Fame as one of the all-time great second basemen. He’s exactly what the Phillies needed, another great hitter. He played 39 games at first for them in 1896, before becoming the team’s regular first baseman this season. Next season, he’ll move to his regular position of second base. Larry finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.2) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.0). He slashed .361/.392/.569 with 20 stolen bases and a 155 Adjusted OPS+. He led the National League in slugging.

So did having two future Hall of Famers Lajoie and Ed Delahanty help the Phillies? No. They finished in 10th place, 38 games out of first. George Stallings coached for the first time ever, but he’d be around sporadically until 1920.

Baseball players didn’t have a good reputation during the 1800s. Wikipedia quotes Lajoie, as he said, “’When I told my father I had decided to take the job he was very angry. He shouted that ball players were bums and that nobody respected them, but I was determined to give it a try at least one season’, Lajoie later said. He also received the nickname ‘Larry’ from a teammate who had trouble pronouncing Lajoie. Lajoie admired baseball players such as King Kelly and Charles Radbourn.”

childs7

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 29 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1896

.338, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.41 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-And there it is! Childs, of whom I’d never heard before starting these lists, is a Ron’s Hall of Famer. He’s also part of a small group who’ve been on the most All-Star teams at their position. They are:

P-Tim Keefe (11 All-Star teams made)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Charley Jones, Ed Delahanty (5)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

Childs produced another great season, slashing .338/.435/.419 with 25 stolen bases and a 117 Adjusted OPS+. These weren’t necessarily dazzling numbers for this year, but no other second baseman performed like he did. Of course, next year Nap Lajoie is going to second base and people are going to say, “Cupid who?”

SABR says he deserves a look at the Hall of Fame, stating, “Cupid averaged 6.3 chances a game at second base during his thirteen-year major league career. That places him fifth on the all-time list for chances per game by a second baseman. Childs finished his major league career with a .930 fielding percentage. However, taking into consideration his outstanding offensive production and given a little luck, Childs might already be in Cooperstown. He compares favorably with many of the second baseman in the Hall of Fame. Maybe it is time to take another look at him.” The website Not in the Hall of Fame says, “Had he been the type of batter who delivered more extra base hits, it is very possible that he would have been a Cooperstown candidate.  As it stands now, we expect him to remain buried among other candidates on the Veteran’s Committee desktop.”

collinsj

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

.346, 6 HR, 132 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-134

Putouts as 3B-214

Assists as 3B-303

Double Plays Turned as 3B-20

1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” Collins was born on January 16, 1870 in Buffalo, NY. This is a good year for the ol’ All-Star team as two greats like Nap Lajoie and Collins were introduced. Collins started his career for Boston and Louisville in 1895 and stayed with Boston after that. He finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6). He’d always be a good glove man. At the plate, Collins slashed .346/.400/.482 with 14 stolen bases and a 128 OPS+. His batting average and on-base percent would be career highs. During this crazy hitting era, a lot of players, Hall of Famers or not, had career highs. He also had his first title.

Wikipedia says, “Jimmy Collins was born in Niagara Falls, New York. After graduating St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute he went to work for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and played baseball in the Buffalo City League.

“Collins was especially regarded for his defense. He was best known for his ability to field a bunt—prior to his debut, it was the shortstop who fielded bunts down the third base line—and is regarded as a pioneer of the modern defensive play of a third baseman. As of 2012, he is second all-time in putouts by a third baseman behind Brooks Robinson.

“Collins asserted himself as a skilled player in 1897 when he held a .346 batting average and knocked in 132 runs. He led the league in both putouts and assists as well, a feat he would duplicate in 1900.”

jennings4

SS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 28 Years Old

1894 1895 1896

.355, 2 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.3 (3rd Time)

Hit by Pitch-46 (4th Time)

Fielding % as SS-.933 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-Because his run of excellence was relatively short, Jennings probably won’t make my Hall of Fame. But that shouldn’t take away from how good this shortstop was. Ee-yah is in the third year of a four-year stretch in which, according to bWAR, he’s the best position player in baseball every season. This season, he finished fourth in WAR (7.3); first in WAR Position Players (7.3); third in Offensive WAR (6.2), behind only teammate Willie Keeler (6.5) and Louisville’s Fred Clarke (6.3); and third in Defensive WAR (1.7), behind teammate Heinie Reitz (1.9) and Louisville’s Billy Clingman (1.7). At the plate, he slashed .355/.463/.469 with 60 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 146. And for the fourth straight year, he took the most baseballs to his body, getting plunked 46 times.

However, Baltimore couldn’t overcome Boston this season, finishing two games out of first. Ned Hanlon’s squad finished second in runs scored and second in least runs allowed, but since the Beaneaters finished first in those two categories, Boston won. The Orioles were in first as late as September 21, but finished the season 3-5, including losing two out of three to the Beaneaters.

You might think because of the rough-and-tough reputation of the Orioles there was a lack of intelligence, but that’s not true for Jennings anyway. Baseball Reference says, “He was a close friend of John McGraw on the Orioles, and the two of them sought to remedy their lack of formal education by taking classes in the off-season. Jennings eventually attended Cornell Law School, and while he fell a few credits short of a degree, he was able to pass the bar exam and become a practicing lawyer. He practiced law in the off-seasons and built up an extensive clientele, becoming quite well off.”

davis3

SS-George Davis, New York Giants, 26 Years Old

1893 1894

.353, 10 HR, 135 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-135

Putouts as SS-339

Double Plays Turned as SS-67

3rd Time All-Star-Davis didn’t make the All-Star team in 1895 or 1896, but this year he was moved to shortstop and it would reenergize him. He finished seventh in WAR (6.9); third in WAR Position Players (6.9), behind Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.3) and Willie Keeler (7.1); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.0); and fourth in Defensive WAR (1.6). That high ranking in Defensive WAR is impressive considering he went from an easier defensive position to a more difficult one. Davis slashed .353/.410/.509 with 65 stolen bases and a 144 OPS+. He’d never match any of those stats again and his stolen base total was his career high.

Wikipedia says, “Davis continued to perform at an elite level throughout the 1890s, regularly ranking among the league leaders in doubles, triples, RBI, and stolen bases. He had a batting average of more than .300 for nine consecutive seasons beginning in 1893. He began playing more shortstop in 1896 and moved to the position full-time the next season. In 1897, Davis hit .353 and registered a league-best 135 RBI. He led the league in double plays and fielding percentage four times each.

“During his playing career, Davis enjoyed a reputation as an intelligent and hard-working player who did not participate in dirty play. On their way to practice at the Polo Grounds on April 26, 1900, Davis and teammates Kid Gleason and Mike Grady stumbled upon a raging tenement fire. The players rushed into the building and rescued two women and a three-year-old child.”

crossm

SS-Monte Cross, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

.286, 4 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-516

Assists as SS-516

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.84

1st Time All-Star-Montford Montgomery “Monte” Cross was born on August 31, 1869 in Philadelphia, PA. He always played shortstop, starting his career in 1892 playing part-time for Baltimore. He didn’t play in the Major Leagues in 1893 and then played a few games for Pittsburgh in 1894. His hitting in those 13 games (.442/.520/.837) gave him the chance to become a full time shortstop for Pittsburgh in 1895. Before the 1896 season, the Pirates traded him to the Browns, where he would remain through this season.

Cross wasn’t known for his bat, but for his glove. This season, he finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.1) and would be in the top 10 in that category six times in his career. This was probably his best hitting season ever as all three slash numbers (.286/.378/.396) were career highs. Cross stole 38 bases and had his career high OPS+ of 107.

                This is a story from Baseball History Daily about Monte Cross, who seemed to be a strange man. It says, “Even in a game dominated by superstitions some stood out.  The St. Louis Star reported on what Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Montford Montgomery “Monte” Cross thought was necessary for a rally—to the annoyance of some teammates– during a game with the St. Louis Cardinals in May of 1900:

“’One of Monte Cross’ queer hobbies is that the bats must not be crossed when they lie in front of the bench…just as (Harry) Wolverton, the first man up in the fifth inning, stepped to the plate,  Cross looked at the pile of bats, and at one jumped into the air, shouting: “Four runs this time.  It’s a cinch.  Never failed yet.”’” Why did he think four runs would be scored? You’ll have to read the rest for yourself.

clarke2

LF-Fred Clarke, Louisville Colonels, 24 Years Old

1895

.390, 6 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Adjusted OPS+-166

Adj. Batting Runs-53

Adj. Batting Wins-4.9

2nd Time All-Star-Cap didn’t make the All-Star team in 1896, but he had his best season ever for Louisville this season. He finished eighth in WAR (6.6), fourth in WAR Position Players (6.6), and second in Offensive WAR (6.3), behind only Willie Keeler (6.5). Clarke finished second in batting average to Keeler (.425-.390), had an on-base percentage of .461, and a slugging percentage of .530. He also stole 59 bases and had a league-leading Adjusted OPS+ of 166.

Clarke also managed the latter part of the season for the hapless Colonels, who finished 11th with a 52-78 record. Jim Rogers (17-24) and Clarke (35-54) coached the struggling team. Cap would coach for the next 18 years and never have a worse season. Of course, it helped to have a shortstop named Honus Wagner in those years.

According to Wikipedia, “In 1897, Clarke took over managerial duties while only 24 years old. As a player, he hit a career high .390. Only the best average of Willie Keeler‘s career stopped Clarke from winning his only batting title. (For many years, Clarke’s 1897 average was listed as .406 but further research led most official sources, including MLB.com, to list it at .390.) Despite Clarke’s excellent hitting and the presence of fellow Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Rube Waddell, the team struggled for several years. While in Louisville, Clarke was teamed up with pitcher Chick Fraser. Clarke and Fraser became brothers-in-law when they married sisters. When the Colonels folded, Barney Dreyfuss became the owner of the Pittsburgh franchise and tapped Clarke, Wagner, Waddell, Deacon Phillippe and others to accompany him.”

delahanty5

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896

.377, 5 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

5th Time All-Star-Billy Hamilton had been traded to Boston before 1896 and Sam Thompson’s career was pretty much done, so the Delahanty was the last man standing of the great 1890s Philadelphia outfield. This is not ending anytime soon as Delahanty would continue to  pummel the ball. This season, Big Ed finished ninth in WAR (5.7), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.7), and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.4). He slashed .377/.444/.538 with that slugging average placing third in the league behind teammate Nap Lajoie (.569) and Willie Keeler (.539). He stole 26 bases and had an Adjusted OPS+ of 161. In an era with outstanding hitting numbers, Delahanty’s consistency allowed him to stand above the rest.

So therefore Big Ed made Ron’s Hall of Fame this season in only his fifth All-Star season. Unlike the controversial pick of Cupid Childs, Delahanty’s a no-brainer. He also made the list as the most frequent leftfielder on this All-Star team. See Childs’ blurb for the full list. Because of the lack of pitching in Philadelphia during this time, he wouldn’t win any championships, but it wasn’t his fault.

Delahanty was a smart hitter, according to SABR, which says, “A pull hitter who kept opposing defenses honest by occasionally hitting to the opposite field, Delahanty once confided to a reporter that he often liked to swing at the first pitch, because a pitcher with good control usually tried to “do his business” with the first offering. Nonetheless, Delahanty could be a patient hitter too, as evidenced by his ranking among the league’s top ten in walks four times during his career. When outfielders, fearing the legendary slugger’s power, played him deeper, Delahanty responded by place-hitting the ball over the infielders’ heads. Delahanty’s ability to adjust his hitting approach to confound opposing defenses made him, in the estimation of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Red Ehret, ‘the hardest man in the league for pitchers to puzzle.’ Longtime catcher Jack O’Connor concurred, noting, ‘If Del had a weakness at the bat I never could discover it.’”

kelley4LF-Joe Kelley, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1894 1895 1896

.362, 5 HR, 118 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Kelley made his fourth consecutive All-Star team, but the truth is this might be his last one. We’ll get to that in a second. Let’s not start out negatively. In 1897, Kelley finished eighth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and seventh in Offensive WAR (4.8). He slashed .362/.447/.489 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 147 along with stealing 44 bases. No doubt Kelley is great, but like teammate Hughie Jennings, his greatness was compacted into a few great seasons in a time in which a lot of hitters were killing the ball. Before the Veteran’s Committee admitted Kelley in 1971, he’d only received 0.4 percent of the votes twice, in 1939 and 1942. People closer to his era didn’t see him as a Hall of Fame candidate.

Since I don’t know whether he’s going to make another All-Star team, here’s a wrap-up of Kelley’s career from Wikipedia, “As a player, Kelley had 11 consecutive .300-plus seasons during his MLB career. Kelley was also known as a good base runner and stole a career-high 87 bases in 1896. He retired with a career .317 batting, .402 OBP, 65 home runs, 1,421 runs, 1,194 RBI and 443 stolen bases in 1,853 career games. His 194 triples ranks him ninth all-time. Kelley tied Fred Carroll‘s MLB record with nine hits in a doubleheader, which he presently shares with eight other players.”

And from the same page, “Kelley married Margaret Mahon on October 26, 1897. Keeler served as Kelley’s best man, and McGraw and Jennings served as groomsmen.”

selbach

LF-Kip Selbach, Washington Senators, 25 Years Old

.313, 5 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Albert Karl “Kip” Selbach was born on March 24, 1872 in Columbus, OH. Though he stood only five-foot-seven, he tipped the scales at 190 pounds, which means he was even more rotund than Cupid Childs. He started his career in 1894 with the Senators and wouldn’t hit under .300 until 1899 and wouldn’t hit under .289 until 1903. In 1897, he finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.5), slashing .313/.414/.461, stealing 46 bases, and had a 131 Adjusted OPS+. In a game on May 20, he stole five bases. Selbach’s not a perennial All-Star, but he did consistently well over the course of his career.

According to SABR, he was fortunate to play this season: “It hadn’t looked as though Selbach was going to be able to play at all in 1897. The January 30 issue of Sporting Life reported that he ‘had been so severely burned as to incapacitate himself for playing next season. The incident was caused by Mrs. Selbach dropping a lighted match on the floor, the flames igniting the fringe of a lounge. Mrs. Selbach tried to extinguish the flames, but failed, and by the time Al responded to her cries, the excelsior had caught fire. Picking up the flaming piece of furniture, Al carried it down a long hall and threw it into the yard. Unfortunately, he was the victim of his bravery, for the hot varnish burned his hands terribly. The thumb of his right hand and the middle finger of his left were burned to the bone. The thumb had been broken once, and the flesh was burned away so that he could plainly see where the bones were knitted. The use of both hands was at first despaired of.’”

smith5LF-Mike Smith, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1887 1888 1893 1896

.310, 6 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-I gave a wrap up of Smith’s career in his 1896 blurb, not expecting him to be back on the All-Star team. But every team needs a representative and Smith was Pittsburgh’s, along with being the fifth leftfielder to make the team. I can’t see him making two more All-Star teams and being in my Hall of Fame, but stranger things have happened. This year, Smith slashed .310/.408/.463 with 25 stolen bases and a 133 OPS+.

For only having one All-Star, the Pirates didn’t do too badly, though they did drop from sixth in 1896 to eighth this season. Patsy Donovan coached this team to a 60-71 record, 32-and-a-half games out of first. It was his first year of 11 years managing. Pittsburgh scored the third least runs in the league as Smith was their only good hitter. As for pitching, Frank Killen and Pink Hawley, All-Stars from the previous season, both had off seasons.

Smith’s obituary says, “By 1897, Smith’s star was dimming and he was part of a trade Pittsburgh brokered with his old team in Cincinnati.  Smith’s first year back in Ohio was a good one and he maintained a .342 batting average.  By 1900, Cincinnati loaned Smith to Giants, from whom he would be sent to both the Pirates and the Beaneaters, from whom he ended his major league career, retiring in 1901.

“Despite the various teams for which Smith played he maintained a home on The North Side on Madison Avenue.  After leaving baseball, Smith worked as an inspector for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Highways, a job from which he retired in 1931.”

hamilton8CF-Billy Hamilton, Boston Beaneaters, 31 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896

.343, 3 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-152 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-105 (5th Time)

Times on Base-285 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-There wasn’t much the great Billy Hamilton hadn’t accomplished in his stellar career, but he added another notch to his belt, winning his first championship. His hitting wasn’t where it was before, meaning instead of incredible, it was only dazzling. He still hit for average, still walked, and still ran. He’s got a shot at being admitted to the ONEHOF next season, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame of my making in which only the greatest player not already in the ONEHOF can be inducted. Not to mention, Hamilton’s not done making All-Star teams yet.

Sliding Billy finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9) and eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4), while slashing .343/.461/.414. He stole 66 bases, third behind Chicago’s Bill Lange (73) and Baltimore’s Jake Stenzel (69) and had an Adjusted OPS+ of 127. All of his slash numbers were his lowest since 1892, before the mound was moved back 10 feet and his Adjusted OPS+ was his lowest since 1889, when he played for Kansas City in the American Association. Hitting numbers were inflated in the 1890s, so it’s possible to overrate Hamilton’s feats, but when you compare him to his peers, he still shined.

If you’re wondering why Billy Hamilton’s 914 stolen bases aren’t generally regarded as the third highest of all-time, it’s because steals were counted differently before 1898. Wikipedia states, “For a time in the 19th century, stolen bases were credited when a baserunner reached an extra base on a base hit from another player. For example, if a runner on first base reached third base on a single, it counted as a steal. In 1887, Hugh Nicol set a still-standing Major League record with 138 stolen bases, many of which would not have counted under modern rules.”

keeler2

RF-Willie Keeler, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1895

.424, 0 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-6.5

Batting Average-.424

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.003

Hits-239

Singles-193

Runs Created-139

Offensive Win %-.813

AB per SO-112.8

2nd Time All-Star-This was the season that put Keeler in the Hall of Fame as his primary skills – not striking out and hitting singles – all came together this year. He finished fifth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind only teammate Hughie Jennings (7.3); and first in Offensive WAR (6.5). He led the National League in hitting (.424); was third in on-base percentage (.464) behind teammate John McGraw (.471) and Cleveland’s Jesse Burkett (.468); and was second in slugging (.539) behind only Philadelphia’s Nap Lajoie (.569). He set the all-time record for singles with 193, but he’d break his own record in 1898. It was Wee Willie’s best season ever.

Of course, he’s most famous for his 44-game hitting streak this year. SABR, as usual, has the details: “It was in 1897 that Keeler attained his greatest batting glory. He singled and doubled in the season opener against Boston, had at least two hits in eight of the Orioles’ first nine games, and by the end of the first week of June had collected 70 hits. His average stood at .446.

“To that point the closest any pitcher had come to stopping Keeler was St. Louis left-hander Duke Esper, who held him to a bunt single on June 5. The bunt extended Keeler’s consecutive-game hitting streak for the season to 35. He ran it to 40 against Louisville a week later, and on June 16 hit safely in his 43rd consecutive game, breaking the record set by Bill Dahlen of the Chicago Colts three seasons earlier. On June 18 he thrashed Pink Hawley of Pittsburgh for a single, double, and triple.” He was stopped the next day by Pittsburgh’s Frank Killen.

1896 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-John Ward

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Nig Cuppy, CLV

P-Frank Killen, PIT

P-Pink Hawley, PIT

P-Bill Hoffer, BLN

P-Frank Dwyer, CIN

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Jouett Meekin, NYG

P-Harley Payne, BRO

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

C-Deacon McGuire, WHS

C-Jack Clements, PHI

1B-Roger Connor, STL

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-Bill Joyce, WHS/NYG

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

SS-Bill Dahlen, CHC

SS-Gene DeMontreville, WHS

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Joe Kelley, BLN

LF-Mike Smith, PIT

LF-Jesse Burkett, CLV

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

RF-Mike Tiernan, NYG

RF-Tom McCreery, LOU

 

ward91896 ONEHOF Inductee-John Ward

1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1887 1890

164-103, 2.10 ERA, 920 K, .275, 26 HR, 869 RBI, 64.0 WAR

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups.

The following list is the prestigious ONEHOF and the Yes or No indicates whether that player is in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. The picks thus far are:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

1893-Charlie Bennett, C (No)

1894-John Clarkson, P (Yes)

1895-Old Hoss Radbourn, P (Yes)

1896-John Ward, SS (Yes)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1897: King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Kid Nichols, Jack Clements, Billy Hamilton

Ward was probably the most famous two-way player before George Herman Ruth came along. His pitching WAR was 28.4 and his WAR from the other positions was 35.6. He made All-Star teams at pitcher, shortstop, centerfield, and rightfield.

young6

P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 29 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895

28-15, 3.24 ERA, 140 K, .289, 3 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.7 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-10.1 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.347 (5th Time)

Saves-3

Strikeouts-140

Shutouts-5 (3rd Time)

Hits Allowed-477

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-2.258 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.36 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Run-57 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.1 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-145 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Cleveland fans might not have seen a whole lot of pennants in their day, but at least every couple days, they got to watch the great Cy Young on the mound. Every year, I do this All-Star team and the pitchers come and go. As a matter of fact, the fireballer Amos Rusie didn’t even make the list this season. Yet season after season, Young and Kid Nichols are on the list. As for his pitching, Young finished first in WAR (10.7) and first in WAR for Pitchers (10.1). He pitched 414 1/3 innings, second to Pittsburgh’s Frank Killen, with a 3.24 ERA and a 140 ERA+. He also led the league in Ks for the first time, while continuing to keep his walks at a minimum. Wikipedia says, “In 1896, Young lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning when Ed Delahanty of the Philadelphia Phillies hit a single.” SABR has more details: “That game came within one out of being a no-hitter when Ed Delahanty, playing first base and batting third in the order, managed a clean hit to short right field in the ninth after Cooley and Hallman had flied out. The Philadelphia Public Ledger said that ‘Cooley had been robbed of the first hit of the game by Burkett.’ It is purely speculative, although plausible, that, due to the Delahanty reputation, the outfield may have been playing back, which allowed the ball to land in short right field.”

That pitching, combined with the hurling of teammate Nig Cuppy, led Cleveland to an 80-48 record. Though the Spiders were in first place after July 7, Patsy Tebeau’s team never really had much of a chance against Baltimore after that, finishing nine-and-a-half out of first.

cuppy2

P-Nig Cuppy, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

1895

25-14, 3.12 ERA, 86 K, .270, 1 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Cuppy paired with Cy Young to dominate on the mound for the Spiders. If they could hit as well as they could pitch, they could have broken the string of Baltimore pennants. You can’t blame Cuppy, who finished second in WAR (10.5) and second in WAR for Pitchers (9.8), both to teammate Young (10.7 and 10.1, respectively). He pitched 358 innings with a 3.12 ERA, which was third to Cincinnati’s Billy Rhines (2.45) and Boston’s Kid Nichols (2.83), and a 146 Adjusted ERA+. It was Cuppy’s best season ever.

It’s also most likely his last All-Star season. He continued pitching with the Spiders through 1898, before moving to St. Louis in 1899, Boston in 1900, and then the American League Boston Americans in 1901. He’d never pitch over 171 2/3 innings again and would be done by the time he was 31. It makes what Young is doing that much more impressive, as he was able to put together a decades-long string of great pitching years.

SABR tells about an innovation Cuppy brought to the game: “According to the Cleveland Press, one day in 1894 Cuppy announced that he was going to spring a surprise on fans and players alike at that afternoon’s game. When the game began Cuppy walked out into the pitcher’s box wearing a glove on his left hand. Other fielders had worn gloves before, but this was believed to be the first time in history that a pitcher had used a glove. By the end of the season use of the glove had been adopted by other pitchers.”

killen4P-Frank Killen, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

1891 1892 1893

30-18, 3.41 ERA, 134 K, .231, 2 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-30 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-52

Innings Pitched-432 1/3

Games Started-50

Complete Games-44

Shutouts-5

Batters Faced-1,850

Def. Games as P-52

4th Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team in 1893, Lefty Killen pitched in limited duty for the Pirates. This season, the team said, “What the heck! Throw Killen’s arm out!” He had his best season ever, finishing fourth in WAR (8.3) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.5). He led the National League in innings pitched with 432 1/3, with him and Cy Young being the only pitchers over 400 innings. Killen also had a 3.41 ERA and a 123 ERA+. It was the second time Killen won 30 or more games.

Killen’s team, the Pirates, with Connie Mack at the helm, finished in sixth place with a 66-63 record. The problem was in games in which Lefty didn’t get the decision, Pittsburgh finished 36-45.

He did have some trouble, according to SABR, which says, “Killen might have paid less attention to hecklers [in] 1896, but he didn’t lose any of his on-the-field aggression. In a game against Cincinnati at League Park on July 31, Killen charged home plate to argue with umpire Bud Lilly, who had changed his call on Eddie Burke’s fly down the left-field line from foul to hit. According to the Pittsburgh Daily Post, Lilly ‘let go at’ Killen, apparently under the impression that the pitcher would strike him. Killen retaliated by landing ‘a couple of blows on (Lally’s) face’ before a riot erupted with players, spectators, and police rushing onto the field. When order was finally restored, Killen was under arrest and escorted to the local police station. Killen was ultimately fined $25 while team owner William Kerr publicly condemned the umpire for provoking the incident.”

hawley3

P-Pink Hawley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23 Years Old

1894 1895

22-21, 3.57 ERA, 137 K, .239, 1 HR, 21 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require five more All-Star seasons. Not gonna happen)

 

3rd Time All-Star-Now that Frank Killen was back from his injury, Hawley could relax and pitch only 378 innings, after pitching 444 1/3 in 1895. I mentioned in Killen’s blurb that the Pirates were 36-45 in games in which he didn’t garner the decision. Well, they were 14-24 in games not decided by either of their aces. Pink finished fifth in WAR (8.1) and third in WAR for Pitchers (8.0), behind Cleveland’s duo of Cy Young (10.1) and Nig Cuppy (9.8). He had a 3.57 ERA and a 117 ERA+. He most likely has one All-Star season left.

Here’s more on Hawley from SABR: “While pitching for the Pirates, Hawley earned the nickname ‘Duke of Pittsburgh’ because of his stylish dress and good looks. He was known to wear diamonds and other items of high fashion and developed a reputation similar to that of a matinee idol in Pittsburgh. Later a cigar was named Duke of Pittsburgh after Hawley. Boxes of these cigars featured his picture.

                “At one point during his tenure with the Pirates, Hawley refused to accept a bribe from a gambler who offered him $20,000 dollars to throw a game. The gambler told Hawley if he didn’t take the bribe he would go back to his room a $2,400 a year pitcher. Hawley replied that he would but he’d be able to sleep at night.” Part of the benefit about the huge salaries for modern day players is less temptation to throw games to gamblers. I admire Hawley’s integrity.

hoffer2

P-Bill Hoffer, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1895

25-7, 3.38 ERA, 93 K, .304, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.781 (2nd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.029

2nd Time All-Star-I know nowadays we are sophisticated and no longer judge pitchers by won-loss records, but still, you have to admire Hoffer’s 78-24 record he compiled from 1895-97. It helps to be on a team that scores at the rate Baltimore plated runs. Still, even if the Orioles are scoring in droves, Hoffer has to do his part and he did, finishing sixth in WAR (8.0) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.1). He pitched a relatively low 309 innings with a 3.38 ERA and a 127 ERA+. To show you why win-loss records can be so undependable, Hoffer is actually going to have an Adjusted ERA+ of 97 in 1897, but still end up with a 22-11 record.

Baltimore won its third straight pennant this season, finishing 90-39 under the guidance of Ned Hanlon. It dominated the league almost from the beginning to the end, being led by an offense averaging 7.5 runs per game. The second highest team in runs scored was Philadelphia, which averaged 6.8 runs per game. However, the Orioles combined this lethal hitting with great pitching, something no other team was able to do this season, so they beat second-place Cleveland by nine-and-a-half games.

Baseball Reference has this quote from Hoffer, “I couldn’t pitch my best when I wasn’t mad. McGraw would yell at me ‘You fat-headed Dutchman’ and maybe some other insults. Then I’d get mad and throw that ball so damned hard.”

Wikipedia mentions, “In 1901 he archived the dubious honor of being the losing pitcher in the American League’s first game.”

dwyer4

P-Frank Dwyer, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1892 1894 1895

24-11, 3.15 ERA, 57 K, .264, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Dwyer made the All-Star team yet again, despite not being a pitcher who would ever rate among the National League’s best. Yet year-after-year, he was the best the Reds had to offer from the mound. This season was his best ever as he finished seventh in WAR (7.6) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2). Dwyer pitched 288 2/3 innings and his ERA (3.15) was fourth in the league. His Adjusted ERA+ of 147, however, was third, behind teammate Billy Rhines (189) and Boston’s Kid Nichols (160). Rhines would have made the All-Star team if he pitched more than 143 innings.

The Reds fought valiantly for the title, but ended up short, finishing in third place. Managed by Hall of Famer Buck Ewing, Cincinnati ended with a 77-50 record, 12 games out of first. It was actually in first place as late as August 19, but finished 8-20 the rest of the season. An injury to Rhimes kept them from getting closer to the pennant.

Wikipedia has a wrap-up of his career, though I do think he has another All-Star team left in him. It says, “John Francis Dwyer (March 25, 1868 – February 4, 1943) was an American right-handed pitcher and manager in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Stockings (1888–1889), Chicago Pirates (1890), Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers (1891), Milwaukee Brewers (1891), St. Louis Browns (1892) and Cincinnati Reds (1892–1899). He currently ranks 61st on the MLB career complete games List (270) and 85th on the MLB career hits allowed list (3,301).”

nichols7P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895

30-14, 2.83 ERA, 102 K, .190, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins-30

7th Time All-Star-One of the good things about doing this year-by-year All-Star team is that players aren’t getting compared to people in other eras, but to their peers. Kid Nichols versus Cy Young is a valid comparison because they’re pitching at the same time, the 1890s, when hitters ruled the earth. Young will eventually finish with a longer career and, of course, have an award named after him, but if judged at this point, the award could have easily been the Kid Nichols Award.

Nichols finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (7.2), pitching 372 1/3 innings with a 2.83 ERA, behind only Cincinnati’s Billy Rhines (2.45), who pitched only 143 innings. He was second in Adjusted ERA+ (160) to Rhines (189), also.

After finishing sixth in 1895, Boston improved to a 74-57 record and a fourth place finish. Frank Selee managed the team for the seventh straight season and has some better years ahead.

If you’re wondering how Nichols made the Hall, SABR says, “Sportswriters such as Grantland Rice would periodically advocate for Nichols’ election to the Hall of Fame, and Nichols’ contemporaries such as Cy Young were reportedly in his corner, but the biggest single boost to his consideration may have come in April of 1948 when a legend who was in many ways his exact opposite, Ty Cobb, loudly and repeatedly clamored for Nichols to join him at Cooperstown.” The real question, of course, is how did it take so long! He had a ton of wins, many pennants, and was the second greatest pitcher of his era. Nichols should have gone in long before 1949.

meekin2

P-Jouett Meekin, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1894

26-14, 3.82 ERA, 110 K, .299, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-I have to stop making predictions. In Meekin’s 1894 blurb, I said it was probably his first and only All-Star team and then he proves me wrong. The only reason he made it, however, is that he was the Giants’ best pitcher. Amos Rusie sat out the year and Meekin had to take over as the staff ace. (Read Rusie’s 1895 write-up for more details). It’s not like Meekin’s year was terrible. He pitched 334 1/3 innings with a 3.82 ERA and a 110 ERA+. But it wouldn’t have made the cut in many seasons.

It’s interesting to note losing their ace didn’t hurt the Giants too much. In 1895, they were coached by three men to a 66-65 ninth place finish. This season, Arthur Irwin (36-53) and Bill Joyce (28-14) guided the team to a higher finish (seventh) though they had a worse record (64-67). They had a 38-53 record in games not decided by Meekin.

Meekin is to blame for a plague which infected the game, the intentional walk. Wikipedia says, “Meekin fell off somewhat in 1895. Battling a sore arm, he gave up 30 hits in one game that year, losing 23-2 to St. Louis. For some reason, he was not removed from the game, even though several times, he ‘staggered when about to pitch.’ Meekin won just 16 games, and his earned run average rose 1.60 from the previous season. However, he rebounded for two more 20-win seasons in 1896 and 1897. In one game in 1896, Meekin threw the first intentional walk in baseball history, to slugger Jimmy Ryan. The strategy worked when the next hitter struck out to end the game.”

payne

P-Harley Payne, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 28 Years Old

14-16, 3.39 ERA, 52 K, .214, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 68 more All-Star seasons. Um, impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Harley Fenwick “Lady” Payne was born on January 9, 1868 in Windsor, OH. This was his first Major League season and he did decently for the Bridegrooms, pitching 241 2/3 innings with a 3.39 ERA and a 121 ERA+. However, in the long history of great Dodgers pitchers, it’s not like the name of Lady Payne is going to stand out.

Brooklyn dropped from fifth to 10th this season, finishing 58-73 under the guiding hand of Dave Foutz. Its pitching was actually decent, but this team couldn’t hit, averaging 5.2 runs a game in a league that averaged 6.0 runs. It was the Bridegrooms’ first losing season under Foutz and he would never manage again.

After this season, Payne pitched in 1897-98 for Brooklyn, before moving over to the Pirates in 1899. His career record was 30-36, with a 4.04 ERA and a total of 148 strikeouts. According to WAR, he had such a bad year pitching in 1897 that he added more value to the team as a hitter than as a pitcher. And as a hitter, he slashed .236/.288/.255. His pitching must have been dreadful. Oh, wait, I can look these things up! From the mound in 1897, Lady pitched 280 innings with a high 4.63 ERA and a low Adjusted ERA+ of 88. He’d only pitch six more games in his career after that.

Payne’s 1896 season is one of multiple seasons in baseball history which was a fluke. I always think of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season, something out of the ordinary. Anderson’s highest home run total outside of 1996 (ironically 100 years after the season I’m writing of) was 24 in 1999.

breitenstein4

P-Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

1893 1894 1895

18-26, 4.48 ERA, 114 K, .259, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Breitenstein snuck in on this All-Star team, which increases the chance he makes Ron’s Hall of Fame. He wasn’t the greatest pitcher of his era, but he was usually the best hurler on his team and did most of his good pitching in a huge hitter’s era. So even though his ERA has been over four during the last three seasons, his Adjusted ERA+ was over 110 in two of those years. Breitenstein was a throwback to the men who would take the ball every other day, though he finally pitched below 350 innings this season. He finished with 339 2/3 innings, a 4.48 ERA and a 96 ERA+.

I’m not the only one who thought Breitenstein at least deserved a look at the Hall of Fame. In 1937, he received 0.5 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers of America. Here’s another interesting tidbit. Breitenstein’s career WAR was two higher than Sandy Koufax and both were in the top 10 in league WAR four times. So it might seem ridiculous, but if Theo makes Ron’s Hall of Fame with a 160-170 record and a 4.03 ERA, he would deserve it. I suspect he’ll make only one more All-Star team, but he does win 20 games in 1897 and 1898, so, well, we’ll see.

I know it’s blasphemy, but since it’s going to be many years before I’m writing about the great Sandy Koufax, it doesn’t look like he would make Ron’s Hall of Fame. He has great stats, but he also played in a pitcher’s era in a huge pitcher’s park for a very good team. But most importantly, he didn’t do it long enough. Man, if any Dodgers fans read this page, they’d hate me!

mcguire4

C-Deacon McGuire, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

1890 1891 1895

.321, 2 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. Not much of a chance)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-98 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-349 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-30 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-14 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-205 (5th Time)

4th Time All-Star-It is hard to predict the All-Star worthiness of catchers since they play fewer games than the other positions (especially during this time) and so very rarely build up big stats. So that being said, my prediction in McGuire’s 1891 blurb that he wouldn’t make another All-Star team continues to look worse. If he wasn’t dead for the last 81 years, I’d say he’s deliberately mocking me! Unlike 1895, when McGuire caught every game for the Senators, this season he only caught 98. That total still led the league, though. He slashed .321/.379/.416 for an OPS+ of 109, which are good numbers, not great, but for the position he plays, they’re fantastic.

There’s an old saying that the Washington Senators were first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League. Well, they weren’t much better in the National League. They did improve from 10th to ninth this season, but Gus Schmelz’ squad still finished with a 58-73 record.

Here’s Robert W. Bigelow’s write-up of McGuire on SABR, “James Thomas McGuire, who would be known as ‘Deacon Jim’ based on his gentlemanly, fair-play approach to the game, was the most durable catcher of his era. It was widely reported that he was never put out of a game or fined. He was steady in performance and temperament with some of his greatest baseball years taking place for terrible teams. He was not flamboyant but hardworking, and though he was appreciated as a baseball great in his home of Albion, Michigan, his place in baseball history is all too often overlooked. He endured aches, pains, and injury — including breaking every finger of both hands — to create a legacy of resilience and fortitude that encompassed a then-unheard-of 26 big-league seasons at arguably the sport’s most demanding position.”

clements7

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895

.359, 5 HR, 45 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

7th Time All-Star-Since Major League baseball has a long and storied history, it gives many opportunities to play the game of “What if?” What if Clements had, at an early age, been moved from behind the plate to a position like first base? He had an Adjusted OPS+ over 120 for seven straight seasons from 1890-96, but never played over 109 games in any season during that stretch. Except for his 1900 season in which he played only 16 games, this will be the last time he hits that mark. He had great power for his day and a great batting eye, but in the age in which he played, it was impossible to have much durability as a catcher. There are numerous stories about gnarled hands for those who played backstop regularly.

Philadelphia lost Billy Hamilton this season and thus lost any chance it had of winning the pennant. It could still score, finishing second in the league in runs scored, but allowed opponents to score in droves. The Phillies finished in eighth place, 28-and-a-half games out of first, with a 62-68 record. Billy Nash managed for his first and only season.

In 184 at-bats, Clements slashed .359/.427/.543 for an OPS+ of 156. He will still play four another four years, but no longer hit at this kind of pace. I would say he’s no longer going to make any All-Star teams, but I did that before with this lefty and he proved me wrong four times. If only…

Connor R 751.86 PD1B-Roger Connor, St. Louis Browns, 38 Years Old

1880 1882 1883 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893

.284, 11 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes (Inducted 1891)

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-94 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.988 (4th Time)

13th Time All-Star-I said in Connor’s 1893 write-up he wouldn’t make any more All-Star teams, but here he is again. From 1880 to 1893, either Connor, Dan Brouthers, Cap Anson, or a combination of the three made the All-Star team. It seemed strange in 1894 when that all stopped. It was the greatest hitting era in baseball history and, all of a sudden, the game’s greatest hitters no longer appeared on the lists. Connor wouldn’t have made it this season, but there was a dearth of good hitting at the baseball’s top hitting position this season.

Along with playing, Connor jumped in the manager’s seat for the first and only time in his career. Since he went 8-37, that’s understandable. The others that coached the Browns to an 11th place finish were Harry Diddlebock (7-10), Arlie Latham (0-3), Chris Von Der Ahe (0-2), and Tommy Dowd (25-38). Altogether the team went 40-90.

Connor was now the Major League’s leading home run hitter of all-time, finishing with 137 after this season and adding one more next year. Babe Ruth wouldn’t pass him until 1921. The big man slashed .284/.356/.433 with 10 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 111. That would have been decent for that day, but it was his lowest batting average ever up to this point, his lowest on-base percentage since 1882, his lowest slugging average since 1884, and his lowest Adjusted OPS+ ever up to this point. And Connor still made the All-Star team. Farewell from the list, you gentle Giant.

childs6

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 28 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

.355, 1 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. 50-50 chance)

 

Led in:

 

Assists-487

Def. Games as 2B-132 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-375

Assists as 2B-487

Errors Committed as 2B-53 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 2B-73

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.53

6th Time All-Star-Okay, here’s the deal. Childs is going to have decent seasons in 1897 and 1898 and, if no other second baseman can play better than him, he’s going to make my Hall of Fame. I’m good with that. He couldn’t hit for power, but he could do everything else and at a high level. There was no SABR or Bill James in his day, yet he did those things which pleased the statheads like get on base and play a solid defensive second base. How much did he help the great Cy Young with his play behind him?

Childs finished fifth in WAR Position Players (6.2), ninth in Offensive WAR (5.1), and, for the only time in his career, in the top 10 in Defensive WAR, finishing fifth (1.4). He slashed .355/.467/.446 with 25 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 117. It was Childs’ highest batting average ever.

SABR wraps up his season, “Childs bounced back in 1896 with a monster year. He had 177 hits, 100 walks, 24 doubles, 106 RBI, and scored 106 runs in 132 games. Childs struck out just 18 times during the season. He finished the 1896 National League season with a .467 on-base percentage a .355 batting average and 25 stolen bases.

“Childs did not hit well in either of the Temple Cup Series. Even though the Spiders and Orioles were bitter rivals on the ball field, Childs always remained popular in his hometown. ‘Cleveland second baseman Paca Childs is a Baltimorean and has many friends in this city,’ wrote the Baltimore Sun after an Orioles home stand against the Spiders during the 1894 season.”

joyce3

3B-Bill Joyce, Washington Senators/New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1891 1894

.333, 13 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-13

Power-Speed #-20.2

AB per HR-36.5 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Joyce was busy this year, playing and managing (see Jouett Meekin’s blurb for his managing details). As a hitter, he had his last great season, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (6.2) and third in Offensive WAR (6.6), behind Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.2) and Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (6.9). That was despite being traded on August 1 by the Senators for the Giants’ Duke Farrell, Carney Flynn, and $2,500. For the Senators, Joyce slashed .313/.452/.506 for an OPS+ of 152, but really turned in on for New York, slashing .370/.502/.539 for an OPS+ of 178. Joyce led the league in homers and it was the third consecutive season for him with double digit dingers.

SABR shows how tough Joyce was, stating, “On April 22, 1896, Joyce suffered a broken nose when he was struck in the face by a pitch. Six days later, he contributed four hits in a 9-5 Washington victory, including one of the longest home runs ever hit at the Baltimore ballpark. On May 30, he hit for the cycle in the first game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. And on June 26, he homered twice in a 9-3 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles; the victory improved the Senators’ won-lost record to 27-23, and the team, in fifth place, was called ‘the surprise of the season.’ But the Senators dropped 22 of their next 29 games and plummeted to ninth place. Captain Joyce and Manager Schmelz were at odds over how to handle the team. To restore harmony, the Senators traded Joyce to the New York Giants on July 31, much to the dismay of the Washington faithful.”

jennings3SS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 27 Years Old

1894 1895

.401, 0 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.3 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-7.2

Defensive WAR-1.8 (3rd Time)

Hit By Pitch-51 (3rd Time)

Putouts as SS-377 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-70 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.56 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.928 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Ee-Yah had his best season ever in helping lead Baltimore to another National League crown. He finished third in WAR, behind only Cleveland pitchers Cy Young and Nig Cuppy; first in WAR Position Players (8.3); first in Offensive WAR (7.2); and first in Defensive WAR (1.8). Wow! Jennings hit .401, second to Cleveland’s Jesse Burkett (.410); had a .472 on-base percentage, second to Boston’s Billy Hamilton (.478); and slugged .488. He also stole 70 bases and ended up with an Adjusted OPS+ of 151. You can see above the defensive stats in which he led. With Ee-Yah anchoring the defensive at shortstop, it was another successful season for the Orioles.

                Jennings is the all-time leader in getting plunked. Wikipedia says, “The fiery Jennings was also known as one of the most fearless players of his time, allowing himself to be hit by pitches more than any other player. In one game, he was hit by a pitch three times. In 1896, he was hit by pitches 51 times—a Major League record that still stands. In just five seasons with the Orioles from 1894 to 1898, Jennings was hit by pitches an unprecedented 202 times. During one game, Jennings was hit in the head by a pitch from Amos Rusie in the 3rd inning, but managed to finish the game. As soon as the game ended, Jennings collapsed and was unconscious for three days.” Man, these were some tough birds playing in the 1800s. Nowadays, because of concussion protocols and club timidity because of the amount of salary doled out, players are handled with kids gloves.

dahlen2

SS-Bill Dahlen, Chicago Colts, 26 Years Old

1892

.352, 9 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No??

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Bad Bill Dahlen, the fiery Colts shortstop, hadn’t made the All-Star team since 1892. His defense hadn’t come around at that time, but now he’s one of the best defensive players in the league, according to Defensive WAR. He finished third in that category this season with a 1.5 mark, behind only Baltimore shortstop Hughie Jennings (1.8) and Brooklyn shortstop Tommy Corcoran (1.6). One thing the election of Jennings to the Hall of Fame with a 42.3 WAR and the lack of induction of Dahlen with a 75.2 WAR tells us is how blinded we are to offensive stats. But Dahlen had the 10th highest Defensive WAR of all time and played in the deadball era. To me, it’s not even close, but in the 1800s, they didn’t have these fancy com-put-ors or Baseball Reference, so Jennings in and Dahlen’s out and no one’s going to listen to me.

The Colts still had Cap Anson as their manager, now in his 18th season as a Chicago coach. Cap led his team to a 71-57 fifth place finish.

Because I focused on Bad Bill’s glove, I feel like I’m giving short shrift to his bat. He finished ninth in WAR (7.1); third in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind Jennings and Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (7.3); and fifth in Offensive WAR (6.3). He slashed .352/.438/.553 with 51 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 156. That slugging was only behind Delahanty (.631). Dahlen’s going to end up being in the top 10 in Offensive WAR six times, but because of the era in which he played, the stats won’t look as impressive.

demontreville

SS-Gene DeMontreville, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

.343, 8 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-133

Errors Committed-97

Def. Games as SS-133

Assists as SS-479

Errors Committed as SS-97

1st Time All-Star-Eugene Napoleon “Gene” DeMontreville was born on March 10, 1873 in St. Paul, MN and might have the longest name of any All-Star thus far. Standing five-foot-eight and weighing in at 165 pounds, he was Washington’s best player and the third shortstop to make the team. He started by playing two games for Pittsburgh in 1894 and then played 12 games for the Senators in 1895. This season, DeMontreville became a fulltime shortstop and did well, slashing .343/.381/.452 for an OPS+ of 119. He’s not going to have a dazzling career but might make two or three All-Star teams. According to Wikipedia, “DeMontreville had a 36-game hitting streak from 1896 to 1897. The streak was over the last 17 games of 1896 and the first 19 games of 1897. This streak was not discovered until 2007; it ranks as the tenth-longest hitting streak in Major League Baseball history.”

Baseball Reference says of him, “’The stars of the season of 1896 were few, but among them were Gene DeMontreville and pitcher Payne, both of whom were rated (not good enough) for Syracuse. Well, we can’t always guess correct.’ – Sporting Life’s Syracuse correspondent, pointing out that both Gene DeMontreville and Harley Payne made good in the majors in 1896.”

Did DeMontreville really hit .343? Look at this from SABR: “He became a cause célèbre in 1899 when the July 8 issue of The Sporting News revealed that Washington owner J. Earle Wagner had gloated to Cincinnati writer Harry Weldon that in 1897 Washington scorekeepers had inflated Demontreville’s average from .285 to .345 (since reduced to .341) to make him seem a more valuable commodity to Baltimore manager Ned Hanlon and admitted the club had done similar padding with Bill Joyce, which was why Joyce’s average had dropped so precipitously after he was traded to New York in 1896.” Before making a judgment, read the whole thing.

delahanty4

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1893 1894 1895

.397, 13 HR, 126 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.631 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.103 (2nd Time)

Doubles-44 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-13 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-126 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-190 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-146 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-67 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.2 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-74 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.849 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Delahanty continued to dominate his time. With the loss of Billy Hamilton and the decline of Sam Thompson, Big Ed took it upon himself to generate offense for Philadelphia and was fantastic. He finished eighth in WAR (7.3); second in WAR Position Players (7.3), to Baltimore shortstop Hughie Jennings (8.3); and second in Offensive WAR (6.9), again behind Jennings (7.2). He hit .397, third in the league behind Cleveland’s Jesse Burkett (.410) and Jennings (.401); had a .472 on-base percentage, third behind former teammate Hamilton (.478) and Jennings (.472); and a league-leading .631 slugging average, his highest ever. Delahanty also stole 37 bases and had a league-leading Adjusted OPS+ of 190. He was the epitome of power in his day.

There is an article by SABR on Delahanty’s greatest day, his four-homer performance on July 13. Here are the details of his last one, but I’d suggest reading the whole thing: “With Chicago fans behind him, many standing on their seats, Delahanty fooled everyone and bunted the first pitch foul. His action brought shouts from the grandstands: ‘Line it out, Del!’ Ed enjoyed this stunt and waited on Terry’s next pitch, a slow, outside curve. The bat, it was reported, impacted with the sound of a ‘rifle shot.’ The hit carried over 450 feet, beyond Lange, and bounded onto the roofs of the center-field clubhouses. Delahanty easily scored his fourth home run without a throw. As he crossed the plate, Terry was waiting to shake his hand. Outfielder Lange hid the ball under the clubhouse for a souvenir, and the fans remained standing on their seats cheering wildly for about 10 minutes. After the game, spectators followed Del to the omnibus and offered him congratulatory claps on his back. A local gum factory recognized Ed’s achievement by giving him a box of gum for each home run. One Chicago paper wrote that if it were not for Delahanty’s hitting the overheated fans would have ‘cursed the day baseball was invented.’”

kelley3

LF-Joe Kelley, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

1894 1895

.364, 8 HR, 100 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-87

3rd Time All-Star-If any player is overrated in history because of the time in which he played, it’s Kelley. He piled up some monster numbers, but in the 1890s, those numbers were scattered all over the place like feed in a chicken coop. Those 87 stolen bases with which Kelley led the league this season are the only category in which he led in his 17-year career. My guess is he has one or two more All-Star seasons, but that’s about it. It’s not like making four or five All-Star teams is insignificant, but it makes for a difficult Hall of Fame case. I imagine the Veteran’s Committee which inducted him in 1971 looked at the dismal offensive numbers of the 1960s, then looked at the shining batting averages of the 1890s, and said, wow, Kelley must have been fantastic! And he was very good and he might even still make my Hall of Fame, but it’s going to be close.

Kelley finished 10th in WAR (7.0), fourth in WAR Position Players (7.0), and fourth in Offensive WAR (6.5). He hit .364, with a .469 on-base percentage, and a .543 slugging average, which led to a second-place 164 Adjusted OPS+, behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (190).

The baseball people of his time did love Kelley. John McGraw, his teammate said, “Joe had no prominent weakness. He was fast on the bases, could hit the ball hard and was as graceful an outfielder as one would care to see.” That Baltimore team would have been something to watch.

smith4

LF-Mike Smith, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1887 1888 1893

.362, 6 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Smith didn’t make the All-Star teams in 1894 and 1895, but his hitting shined this season, putting him back on the team. He was eighth in the league in WAR Position Players (5.7) and 10th in Offensive WAR (4.9). In a league full of good outfielders, it’s no small feat to make this team. Smith certainly wasn’t in the Billy Hamilton or Ed Delahanty class of players, but not too many were. Yet Smith held his own.

After this season, Smith played for Pittsburgh one more year, before going to Cincinnati from 1898-1900 and then the Giants, also in 1900. In 1901, he finished his 14-year career with Pittsburgh and Boston. He had an interesting career, garnering 30.3 WAR as a position player and 12.6 as a pitcher. In his short time on the mound, he had a couple of great seasons and it’s interesting to imagine what kind of career Smith would have had if he could have remained a pitcher.

Union Dale Cemetery has an obituary on Smith, which says, “Elmer Ellsworth Smith, better known as ‘Mike Smith,’ was a left handed pitcher and outfielder in the early days of baseball.  Although born in Allegheny (now Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood), Smith’s career started in 1886 when, at age 18, he pitched for a team in Tennessee.  Smith’s prowess was noticed by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who signed him after only ten games down South.  Smith spent the next thirteen years in the major leagues playing for The New York Giants, The Boston Beaneaters, and eventually coming back home to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1892. By the time he became a Pirate, his signature fastball had ruined his pitching arm and he was brought on as an outfielder.” He certainly was known in his old neighborhood.

Burkett 5667.85 PDLF-Jesse Burkett, Cleveland Spiders, 27 Years Old

1893 1895

.410, 6 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1896 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.410 (2nd Time)

Games Played-133

At Bats-586

Plate Appearances-647 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-160

Hits-240 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-317

Singles-191 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-133

3rd Time All-Star-Burkett hit .400 for the second consecutive season and also led the league in hitting both of those years. This year, Crab finished 10th in WAR Position Players (5.3) and seventh in Offensive WAR (5.5). Along with leading the league in hitting, he finished seventh in on-base percentage (.461) and fifth in slugging (.541). Burkett’s batting average and slugging average were his highest ever. He also stole 34 bases and ended up with a 157 OPS+ (5th in the National League). It was an all-around great season. Burkett’s most significant feat in 1896 was setting the all-time record for hits, at that time, with 240. It wouldn’t be bested until Ty Cobb did so in 1911.

Crab’s specialty was bunting and fouling off pitches, according to SABR, which says, “Additionally, in the era before fouls counted as strikes, Burkett became a master at fouling off pitch after pitch until he found an offering to his liking, or worked a walk (he ranked among the league’s top ten in free passes 12 times during his career). Indeed, as one commentator later observed, Burkett seemed to take special pleasure in fouling off tough pitches: ‘He would do a snappy little jig after tipping off a good pitch, or snapping one on a low line into the left field section of the grandstand or the left field bleachers, very well pleased with himself.’” Those who were around in his era judged Burkett the greatest bunter of all-time, which accounted for his high average.

hamilton7CF-Billy Hamilton, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895

.366, 3 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.478 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-110 (4th Time)

Times on Base-304 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Why would the great Billy Hamilton be traded from Philadelphia to Boston? Why would Jerry Seinfeld return the jacket? The same reason-spite!

SABR says, “But Billy quarreled with manager Arthur Irwin, with Irwin complaining to the papers that Billy was a ‘disorganizer.’ The Phillies finished nine and a half games behind Baltimore and seven in back of the Cleveland Spiders. Irwin was dismissed, and on November 14, 1895, in one of the worst trades in Philadelphia baseball history, the Phillies sent Hamilton to the Boston Beaneaters for third baseman Billy Nash, who replaced Irwin as manager of the ballclub.

                “Boston manager Frank Selee, seeking to replace the aggression of Tommy McCarthy (recently traded to Brooklyn), put Billy in the leadoff spot and gave him free rein on the base paths. Billy’s speed and enthusiasm energized the Boston lineup, and his .366 average and 153 runs scored led the Beaneaters to a fourth place finish in 1896.”

It’s always shocking when players of Hamilton’s quality get traded. I’m a Los Angeles Kings fan and was shocked by Wayne Gretzky coming to the City of Angels. I’m sure Bostonians weren’t happy at the Bambino going to New York. I hear LeBron James taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach caused a little bit of a stir.

Anyway, here are the 1896 stats for Hamilton. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.8) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.8). He slashed .366/.478/.468 with 83 stolen bases and a 145 Adjusted OPS+. Those stolen bases were behind only Baltimore’s Joe Kelley (87) and Chicago’s Bill Lange (84).

Tiernan5

RF-Mike Tiernan, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1888 1889 1890 1891

.369, 7 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-133

Def. Games as OF-133

5th Time All-Star-From 1892 to 1895, Silent Mike slashed .307/.391/.459 for an OPS+ of 126 and yet didn’t make one All-Star team. That’s how tough the competition was in the outfield in the mid-1890s. In an era when .400s were frequent, .289s and .309s didn’t cut it. He had his best season in 1895, slashing .347/.427/.527 and still couldn’t make the team, partially because of lack of defense. If he could have just stepped it up just a bit a couple of those seasons, we might be referring to Hall of Famer Mike Tiernan.

As for this season, Tiernan played every game for the Giants and slashed .369/.452/.516 with 35 stolen bases and a 158 Adjusted OPS+. His batting average and on-base percentage were career highs. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.5) and eighth in Offensive WAR (5.4).

After this season, Silent Mike would finish his career with the Giants from 1897-99. It’s rare to have a player who sticks with one team for the whole time in which he plays, but Tiernan spent all 13 years with New York. He is 16th in WAR all-time with the Giants, behind 1910s shortstop Art Fletcher. Check with your friends who are Giants’ fans and see if they could name either of those two.  As Wikipedia says, “He is the Giants’ all-time franchise leader in triples and stolen bases. One of the great home run hitters of the 19th century, he hit 106 of them, which ties him with Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers for fourth most among 19th century ball players.”

mccreery

RF-Tom McCreery, Louisville Colonels, 21 Years Old

.351, 7 HR, 65 RBI, 0-1, 36.00 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-21

Strikeouts-58

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Livingston “Tom” McCreery was born on October 19, 1874 in Beaver, PA. He played 31 games for Louisville in 1895, before moving to rightfield fulltime this season. He was one of the bigger players of his day at five-foot-11 inches, 180 pounds, but he had decent speed. McCreery had his best season ever, slashing .351/.409/.546, all career highs, with 26 stolen bases and a, yes, career-high 155 Adjusted OPS+. After this season, he’d play for Louisville in 1897, New York in 1897-98, Pittsburgh in 1898-1900, Brooklyn in 1901-1903, and Boston in 1903. He’d never leave the National League.

If Tom McCreery is your best player, then you’re probably not a very good team, and Louisville as dreadful. John McCloskey (2-17) and Bill McGunnigle (36-76) led the Colonels to a last place 38-93 record. Can you lead a team to last place? Well, if you can, they did. They couldn’t score runs and they allowed a lot of them to score, so that pretty much guarantees a bad record.

He accomplished an all-time feat in 1897, according to Wikipedia, which states, “In 1897, McCreery posted career-highs in runs (91), stolen bases (28), RBI (67), games played (138), and hit .289. On July 12, he hit three inside-the-park home runs, becoming the only player in major league history to hit three inside-homers in a single game.” I told you, for a bigger guy, he had pretty good speed, which led to a lot of triples and inside-the-park home runs for him.

1895 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Old Hoss Radbourn

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Pink Hawley, PIT

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Nig Cuppy, CLV

P-Bill Hoffer, BLN

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Al Maul, WHS

P-Frank Dwyer, CIN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

C-Deacon McGuire, WHS

1B-Ed Cartwright, WHS

2B-Bid McPhee, CIN

3B-John McGraw, BLN

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Joe Kelley, BLN

LF-Jesse Burkett, CLV

LF-Fred Clarke, LOU

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Mike Griffin, BRO

CF-Bill Lange, CHC

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

RF-Willie Keeler, BLN

 

radbourn91895 ONEHOF Inductee-Old Hoss Radbourn

1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1889 1890

309-194, 2.68 ERA, 1830 K, 76.0 WAR

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame, in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups.

The following list is the prestigious ONEHOF and the Yes or No indicates whether that player is in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. The picks thus far are:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

1893-Charlie Bennett, C (No)

1894-John Clarkson, P (Yes)

1895-Old Hoss Radbourn, P (Yes)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1895: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson

Old Hoss Radbourn is most famous for his record 59 wins in 1884 or he might be most famous for flipping the bird in a group picture from the same time. Actually, neither of those is true. Nowadays, Radbourn is famous for a Twitter account in his name which analyzes modern problems in old-timey language. See it @OldHossRadbourn.

young5

P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 28 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894

35-10, 3.26 ERA, 121 K, .214, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.6 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-12.1 (2nd Time)

Wins-35 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.185 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.826 (4th Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.95 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-73 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.2 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-120

5th Time All-Star-As the league adjusted to having its mound moved farther back in 1893, pitchers had to adjust to the proliferation of hitting going on in the National League. Cy Young, who pitched in the 50 foot pitcher’s mound era and in the 60 feet-six inch era, pitched great whatever the circumstances. This is his fifth straight All-Star team and the fourth consecutive year he is in the top four in WAR. It is the fifth of 15 consecutive years he’ll be in the top six in that overarching category. He’ll be in the top six in WAR 17 out of 18 years. This season, Young pitched 369 2/3 innings, the first year since 1890 he was under 400, with a 3.26 ERA and a 152 ERA+. His Adjusted ERA+ was second to Washington’s Al Maul (197). Of course, Maul pitched just 135 2/3 innings, 234 less than Cyclone.

It was a good season for Young’s Spiders. Patsy Tebeau led them to an 84-46 record, three games behind Baltimore. The two top team then played a Temple Cup Series at the end of the season which Cleveland won, 4-1. As for Young, according to Wikipedia, “[I]n 1895. Young won three games in the series and Cleveland won the Cup, four games to one. It was around this time that Young added what he called a ‘slow ball’ to his pitching repertoire to reduce stress on his arm. The pitch today is called a changeup.” That’s all he needed, another weapon.

hawley2

P-Pink Hawley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 22 Years Old

1894

31-22, 3.18 ERA, 142 K, .308, 5 HR, 42 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-56

Innings Pitched-444 1/3

Shutouts-4

Hit By Pitch-33 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-56

2nd Time All-Star-Hawley, who made the All-Star team in 1894, was traded before this season. SABR writes, “Following the 1894 season Hawley pitched for the Browns in an exhibition game against the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League. The Browns, led by Hawley’s 14 strikeouts, won the game 14-0. Pittsburg player-manager Connie Mack witnessed the performance and told Pirate officials he just had to have Hawley. As a result of Mack’s interest a deal was worked out which sent Hawley to the Pirates for pitcher Red Ehret and $3,000. The trade seemed like quite a gamble at the time as Ehret had enjoyed six straight seasons of double-digit wins while Hawley had gone 30-58 with a 4.45 ERA in three seasons with the Browns.

“Frank ‘Lefty’ Killen, who had anchored the Pirate staff in 1893-94, missed the majority of the 1895 season with an arm injury. Hawley stepped into the breach. In 1895, the best year of his career, the 22 year-old Pink appeared in a league-high 56 games, including 50 starts for the Pirates. He wound up leading the league in innings pitched with more than 440. He also led the league with four shutouts, while his 31 wins were good for second in the league behind the 35 recorded by Cleveland’s Cy Young. No Pirate has won more games in a season since then.”

Despite all of this, Pittsburgh finished in seventh place with a 71-61 record, 17 games out of first. As mentioned, the Pirates were coached by Connie Mack.<

nichols6

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

26-16, 3.41 ERA, 148 K, .230, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.644 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-When you look at Kid’s career so far, you are amazed at how good he is and you haven’t seen the next three years, all of which he’ll lead the National League in wins. He has now made six consecutive All-Star teams and is probably two or three years from making the ONEHOF to complete the trifecta of making all three Hall of Fames. This season, Nichols was third in WAR (9.7), behind Cy Young (11.6) and Pink Hawley (10.9), and second in WAR for Pitchers (10.1), behind only Young (12.1). He pitched 390 2/3 innings with a 3.41 ERA and a 146 ERA+. Just a typical Nichols season.

It still didn’t help the Beaneaters get close to winning the pennant. Frank Selee, in his seventh season of managing Boston, led the team to 71-60 sixth place finish.

The effects of the mound moving back 10 feet in 1893 were starting to lesson. In 1892, the year before the mound moved back, the teams in the league averaged 5.1 runs per game. The next year, after the mound moved back to 60 feet, six inches, the scoring average rocketed to 6.6 a game. Last year was insane for the batters as teams averaged 7.4 a game. It was a year featuring four .400 hitters, three from the same team. This season, that total dropped a bit to 6.6 a game, as the pitchers were catching up with the hitters. That’s why Nichols’ 4.75 ERA in 1894 looks so out of place for a man who had a lifetime 2.96 ERA.

griffith2

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Colts, 25 Years Old

1894

26-14, 3.93 ERA, 79 K, .319, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (as Pioneer/Executive)

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-It seems to me that pitchers are going to be underrated during this hitting era, while hitters will be overrated. Griffith is going to wind up his career with a 237-146 record and a 3.31 ERA, but he’s not going to make the Hall of Fame as a player. He probably should have. This season, The Old Fox finished fourth in WAR (8.8) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (8.1). You can see by that .319 average, he helped himself with the bat. He pitched 353 innings with a 3.93 ERA and a 130 ERA+. The innings would start to come down for Griffith and, indeed, were dropping for the whole league. The last year that featured any pitcher pitching 500 or more innings was in 1892, the year before the mounds were moved back. By 1909, no one would ever throw 400 or more innings again.

One of prime abusers of arms was Colts manager Cap Anson. His team made a comeback from their three year skid of playing under .500 ball and finished fourth with a 72-58 record. Anson was still the team’s regular first baseman at 43 years old and has two years left.

                Here’s Wikipedia on Anson’s use of his rotation: “Cap Anson was the player-manager of the Colts during Griffith’s tenure and he utilized a rotation of only three starting pitchers. Just before Griffith’s arrival on the team, pitcher Bill Hutchinson had thrown more than 600 innings in a single season for Anson, which may have contributed to a decline in Hutchinson’s career. Griffith tried a new pitch to increase his longevity. By modifying the grip of a curveball, he threw a pitch similar to the screwball that Christy Mathewson had developed. He also often scuffed balls with his spikes or rubbed them in the grass.”

cuppy

P-Nig Cuppy, Cleveland Spiders, 25 Years Old

26-14, 3.54 ERA, 91 K, .286, 0 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-George Joseph “Nig” Cuppy born George Koppe was born on July 3, 1869 in Logansport, IN. As you could guess, according to Wikipedia, “His nickname, ‘Nig’, is often adjudged to be a racist reference to his dark complexion. In the first half of the 20th century, before the game was integrated, ballplayers with a dark complexion were sometimes nicknamed ‘Nig’.” There is a tendency to complain about political correctness nowadays and some of it can be overblown, but I’m glad we don’t live in an era where a derogatory epithet like this can be a commonly used nickname. However, because this is a history page, I’m not going to shy away from use of his name when needed.

You can see why the Spiders finished second with two dominant pitchers like Cy Young and Cuppy. Cuppy finished fifth in WAR (8.6) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.9). He pitched 353 innings with a 3.54 ERA and a 140 ERA+. He was also a good hitter, as Wikipedia points out, “On August 9, 1895, Cuppy scored five runs against the Chicago Colts in an 18–6 victory, the most runs ever scored by a pitcher in a major league baseball game.”

SABR tells us Cuppy needed a pitch clock. “Cuppy was known as a slow pitcher, not only for the number of off-speed pitches he threw, but also because of the time he took between deliveries, which many hitters found frustrating. Newspapers of the day took delight in describing Cuppy’s actions in the pitcher’s box. One reporter wrote, ‘It is really amusing to those in the stands to witness the maneuvers of this little twirler with the swarthy complexion and pearly teeth. He fondles the ball, rubs it on the back of his neck, grins at the batsman, and then stops to adjust his cap and hitch up his trousers. He does all this several more times before he delivers the ball to the batsman.’”

hoffer

P-Bill Hoffer, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

31-6, 3.21 ERA, 80 K, .214, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.838

Shutouts-4

1st Time All-Star-William Leopold “Bill” or “Chick” or “Wizard” Hoffer was born on November 8, 1870 in Cedar Rapids, IA. He was small at five-foot-nine, 155 pounds, but he had an incredible rookie year, his best season ever. Wizard finished sixth in WAR (8.4) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (8.7) for the first place Orioles. He pitched 314 innings with a 3.21 ERA, third behind Washington’s Al Maul (2.45) and Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley (3.18), and a 149 ERA+, third behind Maul (197) and Cy Young (152). Hoffer was a big part of the reason the Orioles allowed the least runs in the league. Wikipedia says his 31 wins are a record for a rookie, but it doesn’t say which seasons it’s counting. Al Spalding was technically a rookie in 1876 when the National League formed and he won 47 games. However, he had pitched five seasons for the National Association, the professional league which formed before the NL. George Bradley won 33 as a rookie in the National Association in 1875. Silver King won 32 as a rookie in 1887 in the American Association. There may be others, but research is hard. My point is, um, you can’t always trust Wikipedia!

That’s part of the reason why Baltimore won its second straight National League pennant. Coached by Ned Hanlon, it finished 87-43, three games ahead of Cleveland.  The Orioles languished six-and-a-half games back early in the season, but soon after a streak in which they won 19 out of 20 games in August, they were back on top to stay. They did, however, lose their second straight Temple Cup – a championship series played between the National League’s top two teams – to Cleveland.

breitenstein3

P-Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis Browns, 26 Years Old

1893 1894

19-30, 4.37 ERA, 131 K, .190, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Started-51 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-47 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-182

Hits Allowed-468 (2nd Time)

Losses-30

Earned Runs Allowed-213 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,936 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-46 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-14

3rd Time All-Star-St. Louis had four coaches this season – Al Buckenberger (16-34), Chris Von Der Ahe (1-0), Joe Quinn (11-28), and Lou Phelan (11-30) – but they all had the same strategy, which was pitch Breitenstein till he drops. In an era where teams were using more pitchers and innings pitched were falling, Breitenstein still managed to pitch 438 2/3 innings, second only to Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley. In those innings, he finished eighth in WAR (7.3) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.4). His ERA (4.37) was high and that worked out to a 110 Adjusted OPS+. Still, considering he was pitching for the 11th place Browns, it was a good season. Will Breitenstein get the three additional All-Star teams which will propel him to my Hall of Fame? Probably not, he most likely will make one more.

The great Baseball Reference says, “Although primarily a pitcher, Breitenstein typically appeared in a few games in the outfield each season, with a peak of 16 appearances in 1895. He generally wasn’t a strong hitter, except in 1899, when he hit .352 in 105 at-bats. He also umpired a couple of games as a fill-in in 1900.”

Three of the six top spots for most innings pitched by a lefthander since 1893, when the mound was moved back to its current distance of 60 feet, six inches, are held by Breitenstein, including the top two. He pitched 447 1/3 innings in 1894 and 438 2/3 innings this year. He also holds the sixth spot with 382 2/3 innings in 1893.

rusie6P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

23-23, 3.73 ERA, 201 K, .246, 1 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.599 (5th Time)

Strikeouts-201 (5th Time)

Shutouts-4 (4th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Rusie made his sixth consecutive All-Star team, but of those six seasons, this is his worst. He finished 10th  in WAR (6.2) and eighth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9). The Hoosier Thunderbolt finished third in innings pitched (393 1/3), behind Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley (444 1/3) and St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein (438 2/3). He had a 3.73 ERA with a 124 ERA+. It was a good season, just not a Rusie season.        From 1883-through-1892, the Major League leader in strikeouts has 300 or more. We are now in a stretch of 10 seasons in which the highest amount of pitcher Ks will be 239. It isn’t until Rube Waddell takes over this category that the 300 strikeout seasons will return.

After making the Temple Cup the year before, the Giants fell to ninth place with a 66-65 record. George Davis (16-17), Jack Doyle (32-31), and Harvey Watkins (18-17) all took turns at the helm.

Rusie won’t make the All-Star team next season, because as Wikipedia explains, “Amos Rusie won his last strikeout crown in the 1895 campaign with 201. However, he finished with a mediocre (by Rusie’s standards) 23 wins and 23 losses. After a bitter contract dispute with Giants’ owner Andrew Freedman, Rusie responded by publicly thumbing his nose at Freedman — the 19th century variant of the middle finger. He was fined $200 (he made only $2,500 a year). Rusie refused to play until Freedman returned his money and ended up holding out for the entire 1896 season. It was a fiasco for baseball; fans boycotted and the press railed against the owners. Owners implored Rusie and Freedman to compromise; neither would budge. The holdout was finally settled just before the 1897 season, as the owners collaborated for recoupment of the garnished wages, as well as a $5,000 settlement ($143,940 in today’s dollars). This was partially out of respect for Rusie. However, the primary motivator was the threat of legal action against the reserve clause had his case gone to court.”

maul

P-Al Maul, Washington Senators, 29 Years Old

10-5, 2.45 ERA, 34 K, .250, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1895 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.45

Adjusted ERA+-197

1st Time All-Star-Albert Joseph “Smiling Al” Maul was born on October 9, 1865 in Philadelphia, PA. He was tall and lanky at six-foot, 175 pounds and had been playing for a while now. He started one game with the Union Association Philadelphia Keystones in 1884 and then didn’t play again in the Major Leagues until 1887, when he joined the National League Philadelphia Quakers. He then moved to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1888 and 1889. In 1890, he finally became a fulltime pitcher with the Players League Pittsburgh Burghers and then moved to the NL Pirates in 1891, where he again went back to limited duty. Now we come to his Washington days as he started with it in 1893 and really figured it out this season, finishing 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.9). He didn’t pitch a ton of innings, only 135 2/3, but led the league in ERA and Adjusted ERA+. Maul’s probably got one more All-Star season left.

His team, the Senators, moved from 11th to 10th in the league with a 43-85 record. Gus Schmelz coached the team for his second season.

Many of the players during this era died young, but not Maul. Baseball Reference says, “Al Maul was believed to be the last surviving player from the Union Association. In addition to his one game in the 1884 Union Association, he won 16 games in the 1890 Players League and played for years in the National League as a pitcher and outfielder, also playing a lot of first base in 1888. He led the 1895 National League in ERA and was second in 1898.” He died at the age of 92.

dwyer3

P-Frank Dwyer, Cincinnati Reds, 27 Years Old

1892 1894

18-15, 4.24 ERA, 46 K, .265, 1 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Dwyer keeps sneaking onto All-Star teams, now being here as the best player on the Reds. He pitched 280 1/3 innings with a 4.24 ERA and a 117 ERA+. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but Dwyer was consistent and that’s why the Reds kept putting him out there day-after-day. As a Reds fan, I can’t imagine I’d be too excited to see this team if Dwyer was the best pitcher, but c’mon, it’s the 1890s, how much was there to do in Cincinnati?

And the team wasn’t terrible. Buck Ewing, a Cooperstown Hall of Famer, Ron’s Hall of Famer, and ONEHOF nominee, joined the Reds this year and coached the team to an eighth place 66-64 record. In League Park, which was a hitters ballpark, it was the Reds’ pitching, led by Dwyer, which most helped the squad.

Dwyer isn’t going to make my Hall of Fame because he needs five more All-Star seasons to do so and only have four more seasons left. Probably two of those will be of All-Star caliber. However, it does seem to me he’s the kind of pitcher someone would take up a cause for when it comes to the Hall. They’d throw out stats like he won 20 games three times and his ERA was 3.84, pretty good for his time. Dwyer just consistently pitched well and pitched often for a lot of years. That’s not enough for the Hall of Fame, of course, but teams need pitchers like Dwyer if they’re going to succeed.

clements6C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

.394, 13 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per HR-24.8 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Back in Clements’ 1892 blurb, I wrote he probably made his last All-Star team. Since then, he’s made three. All-Star catchers are hard to predict because of the lack of games they play. This season, a 132-game season, only one catcher caught more than 100 games and I’ll write about him next. Clements only caught 88 games, but impressed in those, hitting .394, the highest average ever for a catcher, with a .446 on-base percentage, and a .612 slugging average, his highest ever. Clements’ Adjusted OPS+ was 171 which was, you guessed it, also his highest ever. It makes you wonder how well Clements could have done if the Phillies moved him to first instead of using him exclusively behind the plate. He might have hit 20 home runs in 1893 and 1895.

And if Philadelphia could have worked Clements’ bat into the lineup more often, it might have won the crown, as the Phillies finished in third place with a 78-53 record. This team smacked the ol’ horsehide, leading the league in runs scored, but it’s pitching was abysmal. It finished nine-and-a-half games behind Baltimore. Arthur Irwin, who won a pennant with the 1891 American Association Boston Reds, coached his second season with the Phillies. He wouldn’t manage a third.

This season was a pain, literally, for Clements. SABR says, “In 1894 Clements was off to his best start ever until a broken ankle shelved him after just 46 games. He then hit .394 the following year, still the record for the highest average by a catcher with enough appearances to be a batting title qualifier, despite suffering all season from hemorrhoids.”

mcguire3

C-Deacon McGuire, Washington Senators, 31 Years Old

1890 1891

.336, 10 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-133

Putouts as C-412

Assists as C-180 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-40 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-12

Passed Balls-28

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-293 (4th Time)

Caught Stealing as C-189 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Back in 1891, when McGuire made his last All-Star team, I said it would be his final one. Wrong again! I never took into account this man’s amazing durability. In Clements’ blurb, I mentioned how brutal it was for catchers in these days before masks, good gloves, and chest protectors, yet McGuire planted himself behind the plate every game for Washington. Second place in that category was Brooklyn’s John Grim, who caught 92 games. It’s truly incredible what McGuire did. And not only was he out there every day, he also was a good player, slashing .336/.388/.478 for an OPS+ of 123.

Wikipedia calls this season his best ever, stating, “McGuire had the best season of his career in 1895 as he hit .336 with 48 extra bases hits (including 10 home runs), 97 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. His WAR rating of 4.0 was, by far, the highest of his career. Defensively, he set a new major league record by catching all 133 games. The Sporting News in October 1895 called McGuire’s 133 games the ‘record of records’:

“’Catcher Jim McGuire’s correct record of League games caught in this season is 133, 128 of which appear in the standing of the club, four were tie games and one the postponed Boston game. He is to-day in excellent condition. This is the record of records in the league, and many a year will roll by before it is equaled.’” It would be interesting to see month-by-month stats for McGuire to see if he was affected in the latter half of the season by catching every game.

cartwright

1B-Ed Cartwright, Washington Senators, 35 Years Old

.331, 3 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Assists-95

 

1st Time All-Star-Edward Charles “Ed” or “Jumbo” Cartwright was born on October 6, 1859 (70 years before my mom) in Johnstown, PA. He lived up to his nickname, being five-foot-10 inches, but a hearty 220 pounds. His Major League career started with the 1891 American Association St. Louis Browns and then he didn’t play in the Majors again until 1894 with the Senators. This was easily his best season ever, but it was also a bit of good fortune on Cartwright’s part that he played in a time when Cap Anson, Dan Brouthers, and Roger Connor were on their way down. Jumbo slashed .331/.400/.494 with 50 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 130. All of this happened for him at the age of 35. He would play two more years for Washington to finish his career.

There’s an unusual trend going on in baseball at this time – the uprising of great outfielders and the dearth of good infielders. Back in the 1880s, it was the opposite as it was difficult to find three good outfielders to put on the All-Star teams, but now there are only four infielders, one at each position, on this team, while there are nine outfielders. I think it’s just coincidence, but it could also be that managers are starting to see the importance of putting their good athletes in the outfield, especially in this era of inflated runs scored. In the past, Cartwright would have never made this All-Star team, because there was too much competition as a first sacker.

mcphee72B-Bid McPhee, Cincinnati Reds, 35 Years Old

1886 1887 1889 1890 1891 1892

.299, 1 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.27

7th Time All-Star-It’s been a while since McPhee made the All-Star team, but, due to a lack of good candidates, he’s back. He’s not bad, he’s never bad, but the only reason he’s on the team is because there needs to be a representative at second base. He slashed .299/.409/.417 for an OPS+ of 110. It’s possible he’s got one All-Star team left.

Last year, in Sam Thompson’s blurb, I mentioned he headed the list as the rightfielder that made the most All-Star teams. McPhee holds that same honor. Here is the list of the players who’ve made the most All-Star teams at every position:

P-Tim Keefe, 11

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, Bid McPhee, 7

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

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Charley Jones, 5

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, 7

I would definitely pick McPhee over Dunlap for second base. Maybe it’s because I’m a Reds fan.

From an article by John Erardi in The Cincinnati Enquirer, he talks about McPhee finally giving into wearing a glove in 1896: “McPhee had a sore on one of the fingers of his left hand. The sore was created in early spring practice, only this time it wasn’t hardening over with a callous like his sores usually did.

“He began experimenting with a glove.

“’McPhee, for the first time in his long career on the ballfield, is using a glove,’ read The Enquirer of Thursday, April 23. ‘He was forced to use it because (of) a little sore … The ball coming in contact with it kept it irritated and it would not heal. The use of the glove protects the sore spot and it is now pretty nearly well.’”

mcgraw2

3B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 22 Years Old

1893

.369, 2 HR, 48 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-As you know, McGraw would eventually be one of the great all-time managers. He played for the great Ned Hanlon and learned much. But he was also a heck of a player, with an incredible ability to get on base. He could also wield a glove, at least early in his career, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (1.2). At bat, McGraw slashed .369/.459/.448 and stole 61 bases (third behind Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton and Chicago’s Bill Lange) for an OPS+ of 132. Mugsy was one of the catalysts behind another Baltimore title. It should be mentioned he played only 96 games.

McGraw was the main culprit behind the Orioles’ reputation as ruffians, according to Wikipedia, which states, “McGraw figures prominently in an Orioles-spiked-umpires recollection in Fred Lieb’s 1950 The Baseball Story, which quotes 1890s umpire John Heydler, later a National League president, as saying: ‘We hear much of the glories and durability of the old Orioles, but the truth about this team seldom has been told. They were mean, vicious, ready at any time to maim a rival player or an umpire, if it helped their cause. The things they would say to an umpire were unbelievably vile, and they broke the spirits of some fine men. I’ve seen umpires bathe their feet by the hour after McGraw and others spiked them through their shoes. The club never was a constructive force in the game. The worst of it was they got by with much of their browbeating and hooliganism. Other clubs patterned after them, and I feel the lot of the umpire never was worse than in the years when the Orioles were flying high.’”

jennings2

SS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 26 Years Old

1894

.386, 4 HR, 125 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.5

Defensive WAR-2.1 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-32 (2nd Time)

Sacrifice Hits-28

Putouts as SS-425 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-71

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.73 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.940 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Ee-Yah continued to shine for the Orioles, having a phenomenal season. He finished seventh in WAR (7.5); first in WAR Position Players (7.5); third in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (7.0) and Billy Hamilton (6.4); and first in Defensive WAR (2.1). Jennings slashed .386/.444/.512 with 53 stolen bases and an Adjusted OPS+ of 143. That’s a good season for anyone, but spectacular for a shortstop.

As for Ee-yah’s proficiency with the mitt, Wikipedia says, “Jennings was also one of the best fielding shortstops of the era. He led the National League in fielding percentage and putouts three times each. He had as many as 537 assists and 425 putouts in single seasons during his prime. His 425 putouts ties him with Donie Bush for the single season record for a shortstop. In 1895, he had a career-high range factor of 6.73–1.19 points higher than the league average (5.54) for shortstops that year. He once handled 20 chances in a game, and on another occasion had 10 assists in a game.”

Nowadays, defense is rated by watching plays and rating them and, well, all kinds of complicated things. We don’t have that for Jennings’ time, but the stats we do have for him to show him to a great glove man. People in the more recent past won Gold Gloves due to the eyeball test, but that has changed. It’d be great to have film of Jennings and the rest of the motley Baltimore crew.

delahanty3

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

1893 1894

.404, 11 HR, 106 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-7.0

On-Base %-.500

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.117

Doubles-49

Adjusted OPS+-187

Adj. Batting Runs-69 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.2 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.844

3rd Time All-Star-It was a great time in baseball for outfielders. Only four infielders made the All-Star team, but there are going to be write-ups for nine outfielders, starting with this one for Big Ed Delahanty. Nowadays, we forlornly look back at the steroid era, upset at the damage it did to our esteemed home run records and “unfairly” lifting people like Barry Bonds on a pedestal.  We like our 61 and 714, but don’t care about 73 and 756.

Well, the 1890s shattered that same record book. Instead of the rarity of a .400 season, they appeared yearly. Delahanty hit over .400 for the second straight year, something done only by Jesse Burkett in this same era, Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby. From 1894-99, there were 11 .400 seasons. In the other 125 years of baseball history, there have been only 17 others. The main change to the game during this time was moving back the pitcher’s mound by 10 feet.

Now the numbers portion of our blurb. Delahanty finished ninth in WAR (6.9); second in WAR Position Players (6.9) to Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.5); and first in Offensive WAR (7.0). He hit .404, second behind Cleveland’s Jesse Burkett (.405); led the league with a .500 on-base percentage; slugged .617, behind only his teammate Sam Thompson (.654); stole 46 bases; and had a league-leading Adjusted OPS+ of 187.  Big Ed may not ever have bigger numbers, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have better seasons ahead. It’s all about the context.

kelley2

LF-Joe Kelley, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

1894

.365, 10 HR, 134 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Baltimore was chock full of Hall of Famers, including Kelley, who has now made two All-Star teams by the age of 23. He is going to have some outstanding lifetime stats, but in this age of inflated numbers, many players did. This season, Kelley finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.9) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.4). He slashed .365/.456/.546 with 54 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 154. All of those are outstanding numbers, but only stolen bases and slugging are even in the top five and that whopping .365 batting average isn’t even in the top 10 in the National League.

Wikipedia wraps up his season, “These Orioles teams, led by John McGraw, were known to break the rules in order to win, including tampering with their bats and the playing field. Kelley hid baseballs in the outfield, using the closest hidden ball instead of finding the ball batted into the outfield. Kelley hit ten home runs in 1895, a then-franchise record, tying him for fifth in the NL with five other players. He also tied Brodie for second with 134 RBI, finished fourth with 54 stolen bases, fifth with a .546 SLG, and sixth with a .456 OBP.” If there was a way to cheat, the Orioles would do it, but at least for the time in which they played, it seemed to work. Their story relates to the modern steroid debacle. They won because they had talent, but also because they cheated. They cheated because the rules of that time allowed it and there were no repercussions for their actions. It was the same with steroid users.

burkett2

LF-Jesse Burkett, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

1893

.405, 5 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1895 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.405

Plate Appearances-644

Hits-225

Singles-185

Times on Base-307 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Burkett was the Tony Gwynn of his time, hitting for a high average, but not hitting for much power. Crab was a little guy, but a definite offensive force who will most likely make my Hall of Fame. This season, Burkett finished ninth in WAR Position Players (5.3) and seventh in Offensive WAR (5.4). His batting average of .405 led the league, while Burkett’s on-base percentage of .482 ranked third behind only Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (.500) and Billy Hamilton (.490). His .410 average in 1896 (spoiler alert!) would be the only time he’d hit higher than this season and he’d never have a higher OBP. He’d also never slug higher than the .541 of this season. Crab stole 34 bases with a 157 OPS+. It was a great season and not his last one.

I talked about Burkett’s attitude in his 1893 blurb. Look at what the Hall of Fame page says about the fiery player, “Burkett’s contract was purchased by the National League’s Cleveland Spiders before the 1891 season, and he honed his skills for most of that year in the minors in Lincoln, Neb. By 1893, he was hitting .348 as an everyday outfielder for the Spiders. In 1895 and 1896, Burkett batted .405 and .410, respectively, becoming just the second player to reach the .400 mark twice.

“Burkett was nicknamed ‘The Crab’ by his Cleveland teammates – a reflection of his disposition between the lines.

“’You’ve got to be a battler,’ Burkett said. ‘If you don’t, they’ll walk all over you.

“’Once the bell rang, I had no friends on the other team.’”

clarke

LF-Fred Clarke, Louisville Colonels, 22 Years Old

.347, 4 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as OF-49

1st Time All-Star-Fred Clifford “Cap” Clarke was born on October 3, 1872 in Winterset, IA. He was born in the same state as his nickname’s namesake, Cap Anson, who was born in Marshalltown, IA.  Clarke started with Louisville in 1894 and would remain with the team through 1899. He made the team because the Colonels needed a representative and Cap Clarke is the man. He slashed .347/.396/.425 with 40 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 117. Those would be dynamite numbers nowadays, but in his day they were merely middle of the road.

Louisville would have loved to be in the middle of the road, but they were at the end of the line, finishing 35-96 under the guidance of John McCloskey. McCloskey would never have a season above a .347 winning percentage and yet get five opportunities at managing. Puzzling.

Clarke started out hot, according to Wikipedia, which reports, “Clarke was discovered in the minor leagues by Louisville part-owner, Barney Dreyfuss, and joined the Colonels in 1894. In his first game, he collected five hits in five at bats which is still a Major League record. In his second season, he asserted himself with a batting average of .347, 191 hits and 96 runs which were all best on the team by far.”

How about this story from his biography written by Ronald T. Waldo, about a run-in with Cap Anson. Read the whole thing, but this is a snippet: “…I deliberately hit an infield out and as I got to first I landed on his shoes with my spikes and ripped the shoe open.” Ouch!

hamilton6

CF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894

.389, 7 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-166 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-96 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-97 (5th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Hamilton is more famous as a Broadway play nowadays or maybe you think of Billy Hamilton, the inconsistent speedster for the modern Cincinnati Reds. But this Hamilton should be the Hamilton that comes to mind when that name is uttered. In a previous write-up on Sliding Billy, Bill James mentioned he didn’t have much written about him despite his gaudy numbers. Yes, he made the Hall of Fame, but it took until 1961 and the Veterans Committee voting him in. Admittedly, in the first Veterans Committee vote in 1936, there were many great players to wade through, but he still received only 2.6 percent of the votes needed. Fortunately wrongs were righted and he’s in Cooperstown nowadays.

Oh, 1895. Well, he set career highs for homers with seven. He finished third in WAR Position Players (6.2), behind only Baltimore’s Hughie Jennings (7.5) and teammate Ed Delahanty (6.2). Delahanty also beat him out in Offensive WAR, 7.0-6.4. He finished sixth in batting average (.389); second in on-base percentage (.490), behind only Delahanty (.500), first in steals (97); and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (154). In other words, typical Hamilton.

As he turns 30, Hamilton’s numbers are going to start to fall. Not plummet, just fall a little. He’s going to still make All-Star teams, but others will be taking his place at the top of the charts. It’s too bad for Sliding Billy that the Phillies couldn’t put together any pitching at this time, because he and his fellow Hall-of-Fame outfielders, Delahanty and Sam Thompson might have won many crowns.

griffin3

CF-Mike Griffin, Brooklyn Grooms, 30 Years Old

1891 1894

.332, 4 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as OF-357 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-12 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.88 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as OF-.969 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Griffin was the only Grooms player to make the All-Star team, but he’d be on this team regardless, as he had his best season ever. Griffin finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.6) and 10th in Offensive WAR (4.7). At the dish, he slashed .332/.442/.454 with 27 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 139, his highest ever. It was a tradition almost from the very beginnings of baseball to put the speedy centerfielder at the top of the lineup.

As for the Grooms, their lack of star power didn’t hinder their play. Brooklyn, coached by Dave Foutz, went 71-60 and finished fifth in the National League. They didn’t have any All-Star pitchers and only one All-Star position player, but it didn’t stop them from succeeding.

SABR tells about the end of Griffin’s career, saying, ”Griffin was often called the finest center fielder of his era. Five times he led the National League in fielding percentage for outfielders. He also led in putouts two times.

“Brooklyn was struggling in 1898, and manager Bill Barnie was released. Team captain Mike Griffin took over the reigns of the club as player-manager for four games-posting a 1-3 record-before quitting as manager and turning the reigns of the club to new team president, Charles Ebbets. Griffin continued playing for Brooklyn under Ebbets.

“After the season ended, Griffin signed a contract with Brooklyn to be player-manager for the 1899 season with a salary of $3,500. Little did he know, he would never set foot on a major league diamond again.” Read the whole SABR story about the salary dispute that ended the centerfielder’s career.

lange

CF-Bill Lange, Chicago Colts, 24 years old

.389, 10 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Never

 

1st Time All-Star-William Alexander “Bill” or “Little Eva” Lange was born on June 6, 1871 in San Francisco, CA and this is his best year ever. It’s really his only standout year. Why do I bring this up? Because in the 1936 Veteran’s voting, Little Eva had a higher percentage of votes than Sliding Billy Hamilton. This was a man who played only seven seasons, all with Chicago, and more people voted for him in the Veterans Committee than Hamilton! You could write a whole book of the quirkiness of the Hall of Fame, but let’s talk about Lange’s season. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3) and eighth in Offensive WAR (5.2). He slashed .389/.456/.575 with 67 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 157. Good season, but I’m still baffled by the Hall of Fame votes.

Why did Lange play only seven seasons? Love, according to Wikipedia, which states, “Lange was noted for having a combination of great speed and power, especially for his size. His 6-foot-1-inch (1.85 m), 190-pound (86 kg) frame was considered large for his era. He is best known for retiring from baseball during the prime of his career to get married, as his future father-in-law forbade his daughter to marry a baseball player. Despite the short-lived marriage, he refused all offers to return as a player.

“He became a successful businessman after his retirement from baseball. In addition to his success in real estate and insurance, he became a leading figure in Major League Baseball’s efforts to generate interest in the game worldwide. He was enlisted by the leading baseball figures of the day to assist in establishing leagues in several European countries, that could eventually compete against American teams, while also scouting for undiscovered talent.”

thompson7

RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 35 Years Old

1886 1887 1891 1892 1893 1894

.392, 18 HR, 165 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Slugging-.654 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-352 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-18 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-165 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-150 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-84

Power-Speed #-21.6

7th Time All-Star-Big Sam kept bashing. His seventh All-Star team puts him in my Hall of Fame, but it ended up closer than I thought. I’m dazzled by his counting stats, but for the era in which he played, his numbers aren’t all that unusual. Thompson had a final kick after he turned 30 to propel him into Ron’s Hall of Fame, a time that was incredible even for the era in which he played. He also has made the All-Star team more than any rightfielder up to this time. You can read the full list in the Bid McPhee write-up.

This season was same ole, same ole for the big man. He finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.0) and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.8). He batted .392, with a .430 on-base percentage, and slugged a National League-leading .654. He also stole 27 bases and finished with a 177 OPS+, second behind teammate Ed Delahanty (187).

Thompson would play just one more full season after this one and his hitting would fall off dramatically. He then played part-time for the 1897-98 Phillies and the 1906 American League Detroit Tigers, the latter at the age of 46. He would end up with a final slash line of .331/.384/.505 for an Adjusted OPS+ of 147. His final bWAR was 44.3.

Wikipedia has a snippet of a story which wraps up his career, “In a 1913 story on Thompson, Detroit sports writer Maclean Kennedy noted that Thompson’s drives “were the direct cause of more hats being smashed, more backs that were thumped til they were black and blue by some wild-eyed fan sitting in the seat behind, more outbursts of frenzied shrieks and howls of glee, than those of any other player who ever wore a Detroit uniform”, barring only the two great stars of the day, Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford.”

keeler

RF-Willie Keeler, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

.377, 4 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Wee Willie” Keeler was born on March 3, 1872 in Brooklyn, NY. As if the champion Orioles didn’t have enough good players, they also had this future diminutive Hall of Famer. Keeler stood just five-foot-four and weighed in at 140 pounds, but put a lot of baseball talent in that little body. He started as a part-time third baseman for the Giants in 1892-93, before playing one season as a backup for Brooklyn in 1893. He joined Baltimore in 1894, just in time for its reign of terror.

This season, Keeler finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.3), slashing .377/.429/.494 with 47 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 134. His batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS+ were all career highs up to this point, but Wee Willie’s got some dazzling years ahead.

                Wikipedia says of Keeler, “Keeler’s advice to hitters was ‘Keep your eye clear, and hit ’em where they ain’t’—‘they’ being the opposing fielders…

“Keeler had the ability to bunt most balls pitched to him, enabling him to avoid striking out; his skill at prolonging at bats by fouling pitches off with this method was the impetus for the rule change that made a foul bunt with two strikes a strike out…

“In forming the powerful original Baltimore Orioles of the late 19th century, manager Ned Hanlon was given an ownership stake in the team and a free rein to form his team. In one of the most one-sided trades in baseball history, Hanlon obtained Dan Brouthers and Keeler from Brooklyn in exchange for Billy Shindle and George Treadway. Keeler and six of his teammates from the Orioles eventually were inducted into the Hall of Fame.”


1894 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-John Clarkson

P-Amos Rusie, NYG

P-Jouett Meekin, NYG

P-Ted Breitenstein, STL

P-Cy Young, CLV

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-George Hemming, LOU/BLN

P-Pink Hawley, STL

P-Sadie McMahon, BLN

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Frank Dwyer, CIN

C-Wilbert Robinson, BLN

C-Jack Clements, PHI

1B-Jake Beckley, PIT

2B-Cupid Childs, CLV

3B-George Davis, NYG

3B-Lave Cross, PHI

3B-Bill Joyce, WHS

SS-Hughie Jennings, BLN

LF-Joe Kelley, BLN

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

CF-Billy Hamilton, PHI

CF-Hugh Duffy, BSN

CF-Jake Stenzel, PIT

CF-Mike Griffin, BRO

RF-Sam Thompson, PHI

 

clarkson91894 ONEHOF Inductee-John Clarkson

1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891

328-178, 2.81 ERA, 1978 K, 84.0 WAR

 

For any new readers, every year I pick a player who I believe to be the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. I also have a second Hall of Fame, which is creatively called Ron’s Hall of Fame (Hi, I’m Ron), in which any player whose career WAR multiplied by the number of All-Star teams made is 300 or greater is in. You’ll see those in the individual player write-ups.

The following list is the prestigious ONEHOF and the Yes or No indicates whether that player is in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. The picks thus far are:

1871-George Zettlein, P (No)

1872-Al Spalding, P (Yes)

1873-Bobby Mathews, P (No)

1874-Dick McBride, P (No)

1875-Ross Barnes, 2B (No)

1876-George Wright, SS (Yes)

1877-Cal McVey, 1B (No)

1878-Deacon White, 3B (Yes)

1879-Tommy Bond, P (No)

1880-Cap Anson, 1B (Yes)

1881-Jim O’Rourke, LF (Yes)

1882-Joe Start, 1B (No)

1883-Paul Hines, CF (No)

1884-Jim McCormick, P (No)

1885-Will White, P (No)

1886-Tim Keefe, P (Yes)

1887-Pud Galvin, P (Yes)

1888-Mickey Welch, P (Yes)

1889-Dan Brouthers, 1B (Yes)

1890-Jack Glasscock, SS (No)

1891-Roger Connor, 1B (Yes)

1892-Harry Stovey, 1B (No)

1893-Charlie Bennett, C (No)

1894-John Clarkson, P (Yes)

ONEHOF Nominees for 1895: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Old Hoss Radbourn, Hardy Richardson, Buck Ewing, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson

Clarkson started with Worcester in 1882, but then established his fame as the main pitcher for Cap Anson’s White Stockings from 1884-1887, winning 53 games in 1885. He then pitched for Boston from 1888-92, winning 30 games three times, including 49 in 1889. He finished his career with Cleveland from 1892-94.

rusie5P-Amos Rusie, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

36-13, 2.78 ERA, 195 K, .280, 3 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1894 NL Pitching Title

1894 NL Pitching Triple Crown

Wins Above Replacement-14.3 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-14.3

Earned Run Average-2.78

Wins-36

Walks & Hits per IP-1.410

Hits per 9 IP-8.635 (4th Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-3.953 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-195 (4th Time)

Games Started-50 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-3 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-200 (5th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-188

Adj. Pitching Runs-112 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-9.3 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-113 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-14 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-For the second straight year, the Hoosier Thunderbolt led the league in WAR and, in a league with Cy Young and Kid Nichols, was the dominant pitcher of his time. It was mainly because of Rusie the mounds were moved back in 1893 by 10 feet and yet it seems to be Rusie reaping the rewards. Baseball Reference lists him as winning the pitching Triple Crown, but no one cared about this back then and, compared to the batting Triple Crown, it draws little interest nowadays. I don’t really have to list everything Rusie accomplished because you can see above, he dominated the league. It was his best season ever.

The New York Giants had the two best pitchers in the league and, by WAR, the two best players in the league. They should have won it all, but ended up falling three games short to the Baltimore Orioles. Those pitchers did allow the Giants to lead the league in fewest runs allowed, but their hitting lacked, as they placed ninth in the league in runs scored. John “Monte” Ward guided the team to an 88-44 record, but they weren’t in first place at any time during the season. Ward would never manage again.

There was an unofficial championship series going on at this time. Wikipedia reports, “After the conclusion of the 1894 regular season, a Pittsburgh sportsman named William C. Temple sponsored a trophy for the winner between the regular season 1st and 2nd place teams in the National League. The runner-up Giants swept the Baltimore Orioles, who featured Hall of Famers John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson, 4-0. Amos Rusie was virtually untouchable in the Temple Cup, giving up only one earned run while winning two complete games and compiling a 0.50 ERA; if that was not enough, he even batted .429. Amos Rusie’s win total that year was fourth best since the establishment of the modern pitching distance of 60’-6″.”

meekin

P-Jouett Meekin, New York Giants, 27 Years Old

33-9, 3.70 ERA, 137 K, .276, 5 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.786

Wild Pitches-22

1st Time All-Star-George Jouett Meekin was born on February 21, 1867 in New Albany, IN. He was tall for his day at six-foot-one and weighed in at 180 pounds. This season is the epitome of a fluke season as it was great, but he’ll most likely never make another All-Star team. Meekin played with the 1891-92 Louisville Colonels, 1891 in the American Association and 1892 in the National League. He then moved to the 1892-93 Washington Senators. At this point in his career, Meekin was 29-51 with a 4.33 ERA and an 87 ERA+. For whatever reason, the 27-year-old figured it out with the Giants this season. He finished second in WAR (11.6), behind only teammate Amos Rusie (14.3) and second in WAR for Pitchers (11.3), again behind only Rusie (14.3). In 418 innings (third in the league behind St. Louis’ Ted Breitenstein’s 447 1/3 and Rusie’s 444), he had a 3.70 ERA (behind, you guessed it, Rusie’s 2.78) for an Adjusted ERA+ of 141 (you know the drill, behind Rusie’s 188). This was already a phenomenal season and if it wasn’t for his Hall of Fame teammate, it would have been more recognized.

Meekin could also hit, smashing five homers and, on the Fourth of July, provided the fireworks with three triples, a record for pitchers even to this day. He would remain with the Giants through 1899 and then finish off his career with the Beaneaters and Pirates. Meekin had other decent years, but 1894 stands is easily the year for which he’ll be remembered.

breitenstein2

P-Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis Browns, 25 Years Old

1893

27-23, 4.79 ERA, 140 K, .220, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-56

Innings Pitched-447 1/3

Games Started-50

Complete Games-46

Hits Allowed-497

Earned Runs Allowed-238

Batters Faced-1,987

Def. Games as P-56

Putouts as P-42 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Breitenstein pitched his way to his second straight All-Star season and he made it this year due to endurance. In 1893, he led the National League in ERA, this season his earned run average ballooned. Still, the amount of innings he garnered still made this a good season. Theo finished third in WAR (9.6), behind New York’s Amos Rusie (14.3) and Jouett Meekin (11.6), and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (9.7). He led the league with 447 1/3 innings pitched with a 4.79 ERA and a 112 ERA+. It certainly wasn’t as great as the previous season, but in an era in which runs were being scored in bunches, it wasn’t as bad as it looks. No left-hander since 1893 ever had more innings pitched.

As for the Browns, Doggie Miller managed his only season and finished with a 56-76 record, in ninth place, 35 games out of first. Led by Breitenstein and Pink Hawley, St. Louis had decent pitching, but putrid hitting.

The moving back of the mound in 1893 continued to have profound effects on the league. In 1892, when the mound was a 50 feet, there were 5.1 runs scored per game. The next season, the mound moved back to 60 feet, six inches and there were 6.6 runs per game. In 1894, that increased to 7.4 runs per game. In 2016, the Major Leagues averaged 4.48 runs per game, so you can see it was a whole different ball game than we’re seeing nowadays.

young4

P-Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders, 27 Years Old

1891 1892 1893

26-21, 3.94 ERA, 108 K, .215, 2 HR, 26 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-2.334 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-1.019 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Baseball is cyclical, moving back and forth between whether hitters dominate or pitchers do. This tide can be affected by rule changes or just player adjustments or steroids. Young, the greatest control pitcher of all-time, walked over 100 batters for the fourth straight season, but you can see he still led the league in fewest bases on balls per nine innings. He’s adjusting and will never walk over 75 batters in a year for the rest of his career. For the season, Young finished fourth in WAR (9.2) and third in WAR for Pitchers (10.1), behind only New York’s Amos Rusie (14.3) and Jouett Meekin (11.3). Young’s hitting was his worst ever, coming in at a -1.0 WAR, which allowed Ted Breitenstein to have a better WAR despite having a worse year pitching. Young pitched 408 2/3 innings with a 3.94 ERA and a 138 Adjusted ERA+, which was third behind Rusie (188) and Meekin (141). Ho-hum, another great Cy Young season.

Except for 1892, Young’s pitching wasn’t helping the Spiders much in the standings. Manager Patsy Tebeau guided the team to a 68-61 record, which was only good enough for sixth in the standings and 21-and-a-half games out of first. Their pitching was pretty good, their hitting, not so much.

John Clarkson, this year’s ONEHOF inductee, and Cy Young were teammates from 1892-94 and Clarkson would retire from Major League duties after this season. It was the passing of the torch, but it wasn’t completely amicable, as Young, the great one, made less money than Clarkson, the former great one, $2,500-$2,300. Can you imagine how much money Young would make nowadays?

nichols5

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 24 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

32-13, 4.75 ERA, 113 K, .294, 0 HR, 34 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-3

5th Time All-Star-If someone asked you which Braves franchise player won the most games in their career, you might rightly guess Warren Spahn, who won 356 for the Braves. For second place, you’d probably throw out names like Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine. You would then be laughed at and scorned and told, no, it’s Kid Nichols, of course! He won 329 games for the club when it was the Beaneaters and before it was the Braves. He had another great season, finishing fifth in WAR (8.2) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (8.0). He pitched his usual 407 innings with a decent 1894 ERA of 4.75 and 124 ERA+. When I start writing up the hitters, you’re going to see some monster numbers, but it’s important to remember numbers are only helpful if calculated in fair comparisons.

With the help of Nichols and coached by the great Frank Selee, Boston finished in third place with a 83-49 record, eight games behind Baltimore. It scored more runs than any other team, but its pitching, especially in games Nichols wasn’t on the mound, was average.

In Nichols’ own words, he tells how he got his nickname: “When I first joined the Kansas City Club, at 17 years of age, being of light build, I looked even younger.

“The public and the newspapers called me ‘Kid.’ This name has remained with me throughout the years. I’m best known as Charles ‘Kid’ Nichols.” I suggest you read the whole thing and I’m guessing I’ll be quoting from it before Kid’s career is over.

hemming2

P-George Hemming, Louisville Colonels/Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

1893

17-19, 4.27 ERA, 70 K, .257, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Hemming made the All-Star team for the second straight season and had his best year ever, finishing seventh in WAR (6.9) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.9). Between Louisville and Baltimore, he pitched 339 2/3 innings with a 4.27 ERA and a 120 ERA+. After this season, he’d pitch for Baltimore (1895-96) and go back to Louisville (1897). It’s wasn’t a great career or even a good one, but, for the time in which he pitched, it was a decent one.

The 1890s Baltimore Orioles were known as one of the greatest teams of all-time. They also had the reputation of one of the dirtiest teams of all-time. Led by Ned Hanlon, they won the first of three straight league titles with an 89-39 record. They were second in runs scored and runs allowed and first in run differential. They certainly had a lot of superstars on the team, but they also had a win at all cost attitude.

On the opposite side of the spectrum was Hemming’s other team, the Colonels, who finished in last place with a 36-94 record, 54 games behind Baltimore. The Orioles’ former coach, Billy Barnie, held the reins, but would leave the team after this disappointing season.

You need ballplayers to win games, though occasionally a team that doesn’t have many All-Stars will win. But for the most part, the team with the best players wins. Baltimore had five All-Stars, while Hemming was the only one for the Colonels. He finished 13-19 for Louisville and 4-0 for the Orioles.

hawley

P-Pink Hawley, St. Louis Browns, 21 Years Old

19-27, 4.90 ERA, 120 K, .264, 2 HR, 23 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-27

Hit By Pitch-21

Games Finished-10

1st Time All-Star-Emerson Pink Hawley was born on December 5, 1872 in Beaver Dam, WI. I love that ballplayers come from places like Beaver Dam. He was average height at five-foot-10 and weighed 185 pounds. He was now pitching his third year for the Cardinals and, while he has yet to have a winning season, was improving every season. This season, he finished ninth in WAR (6.7) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), pitching 392 2/3 innings with a 4.90 ERA and a 110 ERA+. It’s incredible to see all of these high ERAs on this prestigious All-Star team, but it was a huge hitters’ year.

SABR writes, “He was born Emerson Pink Hawley on December 5, 1872, in Beaver Dam to Francis and Cornelia (Davis) Hawley. Beaver Dam is a small town which lies about 65 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Emerson was born one of two twins, the other being named Elmer. People had trouble telling the twins apart so the nurse who assisted in their birth pinned a blue ribbon to one and a pink one to the other. This resulted in Emerson being given the middle name Pink, and the brothers were known thereafter as Pink and Blue.

“The Hawley boys grew up in Beaver Dam where Pink attended the Wayland Academy. The Wayland Academy is a private school located in Beaver Dam. The Hawley twins had an older brother, Fred, and the three of them became legends in Beaver Dam baseball. Pink was the pitcher, Blue the catcher and Fred the first baseman. The twins were known as the Pink and Blue battery and both appeared to have bright futures as Blue was every bit as talented as his twin. But Blue’s life was cut short by pneumonia in 1891.”

mcmahon5

P-Sadie McMahon, Baltimore Orioles, 26 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

25-8, 4.21 ERA, 60 K, .286, 0 HR, 25 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-You don’t hear the name Sadie McMahon much, but he has now made five straight All-Star teams, two in the American Association and three in the National League. And in Baltimore’s first great year on its eventual great run, Sadie was the team’s best pitcher. He finished eighth in the league in WAR for Pitchers (6.0), tossing 275 2/3 innings with a 4.21 ERA and a 129 ERA+. He’d pitch well over his final three years, but his innings would continue to be reduced and he’s most likely made his last All-Star team.

SABR has much to say about McMahon’s part in the Orioles’ amazing run: “He continued to pitch well, winning over 20 games each year from 1892 through 1894. In 1894 he was having one of his best seasons, with a 25-8 record, when he was sidelined by a shoulder injury at the end of August. The Orioles won the pennant anyway, but lost the postseason Temple Cup matches to the runner-up New York Giants.

“As the shoulder was slow to heal, Sadie decided to sit out the next season. Meanwhile, the Orioles and the Cleveland Spiders were fighting for the 1895 pennant. During the summer the two teams alternated in first place. Led by first baseman-manager Patsy Tebeau, who was reputed to be a brawler and a bully, the Spiders were giving the Orioles a run for their money, not only in the pennant chase but also in the rowdiness department. At one point Baltimore had fallen to third place and the team’s championship hopes looked dim.

“About this time Baltimore manager Ned Hanlon ran into Sadie on a downtown street corner. Burt Solomon reconstructed the ensuing conversation as going something like this:

“’What’s the matter, Ed. You look downhearted.’

“’I am, Mac. I’m afraid they’ve got us licked.’

“’Don’t worry. I’m ready to go now and I’ll win you that championship.’

“The pitcher was true to his word.”

griffith

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Colts, 24 Years Old

21-14, 4.92 ERA, 71 K, .232, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (as player, made it as pioneer/executive)

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Clark Calvin “The Old Fox” Griffith was born on November 20, 1869 in Clear Creek, MO. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee as a Pioneer/Executive in 1946, but the truth is he’s going to have a great playing career and has a good chance of making my Hall of Fame. He started pitching for the American Association St. Louis Browns and Boston Reds in 1891, then took a year off from the Majors, before going to the Colts in 1893. Cap Anson, the Chicago skipper, always had a way of finding talent and he picked up another good one here in Griffith.

Griffith finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.9), pitching 261 1/3 innings with a 4.92 ERA and a 114 ERA+. It didn’t help Anson’s Colts, who finished eighth with a 57-75 record, 34 games out of first. It was the third straight season Chicago finished under .500.

The Old Fox had a tough childhood, according to Wikipedia, which says, “When Griffith was a small child, his father was killed in a hunting accident when fellow hunters mistook him for a deer. Sarah Griffith struggled to raise her children as a widow, but Clark Griffith later said that his neighbors in Missouri had been very helpful to his mother, planting crops for her and the children. Fearing a malaria epidemic that was sweeping through the area, the Griffith family moved to Bloomington, Illinois.” By the age of 17, Griffith was making money for pitching.

dwyer2

P-Frank Dwyer, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

1892

19-21, 5.07 ERA, 49 K, .267, 2 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Dwyer’s season wasn’t great, but he was the best player on the Reds, so he’s back on the All-Star team. It would have been grueling to be a pitcher in 1894, with it being an extreme hitters’ year. I’ve played slo-pitch softball for years and have pitched much during that time and one of the most helpless feelings is when the opposition starts unloading on you and the inning drags on forever. If you’re trying to understand the scoring phenomenon that went on this season, Dwyer made the All-Star team with a 5.07 ERA. He pitched 348 innings and that ERA ended up being a 108 Adjusted ERA+. He still has some All-Star teams left, but my guess is he doesn’t have six of them, which he’ll need to have to make my Hall of Fame.

I would have been one depressed baseball fan in 1894 as my Reds finished 10th with a 55-75 record, despite being managed by the great Charlie Comiskey.

In Major League baseball at this time, there were 12 teams with one team winning the league and an exhibition playoff between the two top teams, the Temple Cup. Nowadays, as of 2017, we have 30 Major League baseball teams and 10 teams make the playoffs. I sometimes think too many teams make the playoffs, considering the teams have already played 162 games and, after that many games, we should know who’s worthy and who’s not, but it would be boring watching the 1890s National League if your team wasn’t one of the ones competing for the title. The good thing about more playoff teams is that it keeps eyeballs on the teams for a longer time.

robinsonw2

C-Wilbert Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 30 Years Old

1893

.353, 1 HR, 98 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No as player, Yes as manager

Ron: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons)

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-109 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-I said in last year’s blurb Robinson wouldn’t make another All-Star team, but I also gave myself the caveat that it’s tough to predict catchers. Anyhow, here he is and he had what looks like a great season, but it’s going to turn out to be average in 1894. As I start writing up the hitters, you’re going to start noticing big numbers, but realize that because everyone had great offensive production that great years lose their value. As a league, batters slashed .309/.379/.435. That’s everyone combined! So when you see Robinson hit .353, you can definitely cheer, but understand all three regular outfielders on Baltimore topped that. Uncle Robbie slashed .353/.421/.430 with 12 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 102. His batting average and on-base percentage would be career highs.

                Here are some career highlights from Wikipedia: “The star catcher of the Orioles dynasty which won three straight titles from 1894 to 1896, he compiled a career batting average of .273, with a peak of .353 in the heavy-hitting season of 1894. Durable behind the plate, he caught a triple-header in 1896, followed by a double-header the following day. He also was the first catcher to play directly behind the batter at all times, as the previous practice had been to play farther back when there were fewer than two strikes. A highlight of his career was a seven-hit game June 10, 1892. He also batted in 11 runs in that game; on September 16, 1924, as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he saw that record eclipsed as Jim Bottomley of the St. Louis Cardinals batted in 12 runs.”

clements5

C-Jack Clements, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

.351, 3 HR, 36 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-It’s worth noting these All-Star teams are not the top 25 players in the league. Every team has to be represented and every position has to be filled. Clements did have a good season, but he played only 48 games. But in a league with a lack of good backstops, that’s good enough to make his fifth straight All-Star team. He had an all-time high up to this point in batting average (.351), his career high in on-base percentage (.459), and his highest slugging average to this point of .497. Clements stole six bases and had a 135 OPS+. If catcher wasn’t such a brutal position and Clements could have played more games, there’s definitely a possibility he’d be in the Hall of Fame. He still has some great seasons left and most likely an All-Star team or two still to go.

Arthur Irwin, who had managed the American Association Boston Reds to the pennant in 1891, took over from Hall of Famer Harry Wright. He led the team to a 71-57 fourth place finish, 18 games out of first. The Phillies could really hit, averaging 8.9 runs per game, just 0.3 behind the leader, Boston.

SABR writes of this season, “In 1894 Clements was off to his best start ever until a broken ankle shelved him after just 46 games.”

From the same article, here’s a bit on Clements’ inventiveness: “Clements likewise developed a unique chest protector, one that required him to blow it up before every game, and was also known for his trademark ‘indispensable sweater’ that he wore everywhere, even on the bench during hot summer games, ostensibly to protect his throwing arm, although by the late 1890s fellow players thought it was really donned to help him sweat off poundage after he developed a serious weight problem. By the end of his career it is almost certain that he tipped the scales at a significantly higher figure than his listed avoirdupois of 204.”

beckley5

1B-Jake Beckley, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1889 1890 1891 1893

.345, 7 HR, 122 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,230 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-132

Putouts as 1B-1,230 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-85 (4th Time)

5th Time All-Star-When I first started writing about Beckley in 1889, I questioned his Hall of Fame creds, but I don’t anymore. In this year of inflated hitting stats, he was the only one to make the All-Star team at the position which usually provides the best bats, first base. Admittedly, it was a down year for first sackers, as Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor had off years. (Here’s what off years look like in an inflated offensive year. Brouthers slashed .347/.425/.560 and Connor .316/.402/.552. By the way, Cap Anson played only 84 games, but he slashed .388/.457/.539. It would be fun to have APBA cards from 1894.) As for Beckley, Eagle Eye slashed .345/.412/.521 with 21 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 126. It was his highest batting average and on-base percentages ever.

The Pirates were a middle of a road team, finishing 65-65 under the guidance of Al Buckenberger (53-55) and one Cornelius Alexander Mack (12-10). It was the first of 53 seasons in which Mack would manage in the Major Leagues.

Here’s what SABR says of Beckley’s Hall of Fame induction: “When Jake Beckley gained election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, 53 years after his death, most baseball fans had no idea who he was or why he should be honored with a plaque in Cooperstown. Beckley’s reputation suffered because he never played on a pennant winner, and only one team he played for (the 1893 Pirates) finished as high as second place. Still, the colorful ‘Eagle Eye’ compiled a .308 lifetime average, hit .300 or better in 13 of his 20 seasons (including the first four seasons of the Deadball Era), and retired in 1907 as baseball’s all-time leader in triples.”

childs5

2B-Cupid Childs, Cleveland Spiders, 26 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

.353, 2 HR, 52 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-At this point in his career, Childs has played five full seasons and has now made the All-Star team every time. His chance’s for making my Hall of Fame continue to increase. This season, Childs hit .353, his highest average so far; had his highest ever on-base percentage of .475; slugged .459; and stole 17 bases for an OPS+ of 123. He was the dominant second sacker in the land and I’m pretty sure he’s got one All-Star season left. If he can sneak in another one, he’ll be in my Hall of Fame and there will be celebrations throughout his home state of Maryland.

SABR writes of his 1894 season, “Childs had another good year in 1894, hitting .353. He had 169 hits, 107 walks, 21 doubles and 12 triples for the year. He also scored 143 runs and stole 17 bases. Throughout his career Childs missed his share of games due to injuries and sickness but he also was capable of playing hurt. On August 8, 1894, Childs fell and broke his collarbone after he was tripped by Pittsburgh first baseman Jake Beckley while he was running down the first base line. Cupid must have had great recuperative powers because he was back in the Cleveland lineup at second base just 13 days later. In September of that year, Childs handled 16 chances without an error in the first game of a double header against Brooklyn. Remarkably, Childs finished the 1894 National League season with just 11 strikeouts.”

davisg2

3B-George Davis, New York Giants, 23 Years Old

1893

.352, 9 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Davis is back for his second consecutive season and he had very similar stats to his All-Star 1893 year. Of course, that means he did worse, relatively speaking, because it was a lot easier to hit in 1894. Here’s what I mean. In 1893, he slashed .355/.410/.554 and in 1894, he slashed .352/.434/.541. Pretty close. However, in the former year, his Adjusted OPS+ was 155, while this season it was 135. He’s still a great player, but it shows the difficulties that come with just making judgments on straight stats. Still, Davis finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.4), ninth in Offensive WAR (4.6); and sixth in Defensive WAR (1.1). By the way, in case you’re wondering how bloated offensive stats were in 1894, Davis’ .434 on-base percentage didn’t even rank in the top 10.

I didn’t mention this last year, but SABR has a good write-up on Davis’ 1893 season, saying, “Prior to the 1893 season, New York Giants manager John Montgomery Ward traded heralded veteran Buck Ewing for the young 22-year old Davis, just off a subpar year in which he had batted .241. Ward installed Davis at third base and the switch-hitter, aided by the new 60’6″ pitching distance, hit an impressive .355 with 119 RBI and a career-high 27 triples. He also set a major league record with a 33-game hitting streak, though the mark would be broken by Bill Dahlen the next year. The New York fans embraced their new player and Ward became a mentor to Davis, who grew a handlebar mustache that mirrored Ward’s, making it difficult to tell the two apart.”

cross

3B-Lave Cross, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

.387, 7 HR, 132 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 3B-24

Range Factor/Game as 3B-4.12

1st Time All-Star-Lafayette Napoleon “Lave” Cross was born on May 12, 1866 in Milwaukee, WI. The five-foot-eight, 155 pound third baseman has garnered some Hall of Fame consideration and because of his dazzling fielding, it’s not impossible he makes my Hall of Fame. He started his career as a catcher, first for the American Association Louisville Colonels (1887-88), then for the AA Philadelphia Athletics (1889). Then like so many, Cross jumped to the Players League in 1890, catching for the Athletics and then went back to the AA in 1891, playing again for Philadelphia. Since then, he’s been with the Phillies, where he was switched to third base in 1892 and then went back to catcher in 1893. This season, Cross made third base his primary position for the rest of his long career. He’d play 21 seasons in four different leagues.

Third base seemed to fit Cross, who finished sixth in WAR Position Players (5.3), 10th in Offensive WAR (4.6), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.1). This was his best season ever. He slashed .387/.424/.528 and stole 23 bases for an OPS+ of 133. All of those numbers, sans stolen bases, are all-time highs for him.

A page called Hall of Fame Debate seems to think Cross belongs in the Hall. It also says of his 1894 season, “Lave was a solid offensive performer but in 1894, he had his breakout season.  Cross elevated his game by hitting a robust .386 in ’94 while driving in an astonishing 125 runs.  That year, Lave played in 119 games, scored 123 runs and drove in 125 runs, making him one of but a few players who have averaged both a run scored and a run driven in per game.  He eclipsed the 100 RBI mark the following year as well while only fanning eight times all season.”

joyce2

3B-Bill Joyce, Washington Senators, 26 Years Old

1891

.355, 17 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per HR-20.9

2nd Time All-Star-Joyce is not a Hall of Fame player because he played only eight seasons, but he ran into some incredible bad luck. Well, maybe that’s not the word for it, because much of it was brought on by Joyce himself. For instance, after an All-Star season in the American Association in 1891, he moved to the National League in 1892, playing for Brooklyn. Then, in 1893, according to SABR, “The Brooklyn Grooms traded Joyce to the Washington Senators in the offseason, but he refused to play for the Senators at the salary offered and held out for the entire 1893 season. Reportedly, he spent much of that summer betting on horse races in St. Louis and hanging out with Alderman Jim Cronin, a lieutenant of Edward Butler, the city’s Irish political boss.” In the prime of his career, he sat out a whole Major League season.

He came back strong, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (5.2) and fifth in Offensive WAR (5.5). This could have been one of the all-time great seasons, but he played only 99 of the team’s 132 games. Still he slashed .355/.496/.648 with 21 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 178. He ranked behind only Philadelphia’s Sam Thompson (.696) and Boston’s Hugh Duffy (.694) in slugging and behind only Thompson (182) in Adjusted OPS+.

As for Washington, Gus Schmelz coached them to an 11th place 45-87 record. He’d be its manager for three more seasons, but the team would never do well under his guidance.

jennings

SS-Hughie Jennings, Baltimore Orioles, 25 Years Old

.335, 4 HR, 109 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.0

Hit By Pitch-27

Putouts as SS-307 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.928

1st Time All-Star-Hugh Ambrose “Hughie” or “Ee-Yah” Jennings was born on April 2, 1869 in Pittstown, PA, having the same birthday as my sister-in-law, Terri. He started his career with the American Association Louisville Colonels in 1891, then moved to the National League for them in 1892 and 1893. He was traded with Harry Taylor to the Orioles on June 7, 1893 for Tim O’Rourke and would then become a legend for one of the all-time great teams. As for this season, Ee-Yah finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.8) and first in Defensive WAR (2.0). He’s one of the great defensive shortstops of all time. He slashed .335/.411/.479 with 37 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 110. He has some great seasons ahead.

Wikipedia says of this great team, “Jennings played with the Orioles for parts of seven seasons and became a star during his years in Baltimore. The Baltimore Orioles teams of 1894, 1895, and 1896 are regarded as one of the greatest teams of all time. The teams featured Hall of Fame manager Ned Hanlon and a lineup with six future Hall of Famers: first baseman Dan Brouthers, second baseman John McGraw, shortstop Jennings, catcher Wilbert Robinson, right fielder “Wee Willie” Keeler, and left fielder Joe Kelley. Amidst all those great players, Jennings was appointed captain in 1894, his first full season with the team.

“During the Orioles’ championship years, Jennings had some of the best seasons ever by a major league shortstop.” That’s true, to a point, but it’s also important to remember everyone was a great hitter during this era.

kelley

LF-Joe Kelley, Baltimore Orioles, 22 Years Old

.393, 6 HR, 111 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Joseph James “Joe” Kelley was born on December 9, 1871 in Cambridge, MA and, like so many Baltimore players, was off to a Hall of Fame career. And like so many of those, it’s a toss-up in my mind. If he played in the 1960s, he’d be an unbelievable hitter, but in the time in which he played, there were many hitters like him. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good hitter or a good player, but does he deserve Cooperstown? That’s a tough call.

Kelley started with Boston in 1891, then played for Pittsburgh and Baltimore in 1892. He’d be on the Orioles through 1898. He finished 10th in WAR (6.5); third in WAR Position Players (6.5), behind only Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton and Boston’s Hugh Duffy; and third in Offensive WAR (6.1), behind those same two (7.8 and 6.7 respectively). He slashed .393/.502/.602 with 46 stolen bases for an Adjusted OPS+ of 161. All of those slash numbers would be the highest in his career. He was second in OBP to Hamilton (.521). According to SABR, “On September 3, 1894, Kelley, batting leadoff, stroked nine straight hits in a doubleheader sweep of the Cleveland Spiders in front of a Labor Day crowd of over 20,000 fans at Baltimore’s Union Park. The hard-hitting Irishman put the finishing touches on his great day by slamming four consecutive doubles off Cy Young in the nightcap.” This season was his second year of 11 consecutive seasons in which he’d above .300.

delahanty2

LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1893

.404, 4 HR, 133 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-As of this writing in 2017, it has been 76 years since anybody hit .400. It is an incredibly difficult feat to hit .400 in a whole Major League season. I play slo-pitch softball and I doubt I hit that high and the ball is being lobbed to me! Yet five people in 1894 hit .400 and four of them were on the same team. I’m going to be writing about three of those four as all of the regular Philadelphia outfielders hit .400. But the Phillies backup outfielder also hit over .400 as Tuck Turner hit .418. He didn’t have enough at-bats to make the All-Star team. The only non-Philadelphia .400 hitter was Hugh Duffy, who hit .440. More on him later.

This season, Delahanty finished fourth in WAR Position Players (6.0) and sixth in Offensive WAR (5.4). He hit .404, with a .475 on-base percentage and .584 slugging average. He stole 21 bases and ended up with a 159 OPS+. But he has much better seasons ahead.

Wikipedia wraps up everything I just said, saying, “In 1894, despite his high average of .407, the batting title went to Hugh Duffy with a major league record-setting .440. The 1894 Phillies outfield had a big season, with all four players averaging over .400. That season, Delahanty hit .407, Sam Thompson batted .407, Billy Hamilton .404 and spare outfielder Tuck Turner finished second to Hugh Duffy in hitting at .416… Delahanty was surrounded by talent in the Philadelphia outfield. Author Bill James wrote, ‘Any way you cut it, the Phillies had the greatest outfield of the 19th century.’”

hamilton5CF-Billy Hamilton, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893

.403, 4 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.2 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-7.8 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.521 (3rd Time)

Plate Appearances-702

Runs Scored-198 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-128 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-100 (4th Time)

Singles-181 (4th Time)

Times on Base-362 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-370

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.92

5th Time All-Star-In a career loaded with great seasons, this was Hamilton’s best season ever. He finished sixth in WAR (8.2), first in WAR Position Players (8.2), and first in Offensive WAR (7.8). He led the league with a .521 on-base percentage and 100 stolen bases. Sliding Billy also hit .403 with a .523 slugging average and a 157 OPS+. It was his highest batting average and on-base percentage ever and, oh, yeah, Hamilton also set an all-time record for runs scored with 198. In 132 games.

Most importantly, his fifth straight All-Star season puts the great Hamilton into my Hall of Fame. He’ll most likely be in the ONEHOF someday.

So I’m writing about all of these incredible Philadelphia seasons and you must be thinking that Philadelphia Baseball Grounds must have been a bandbox, a real hitter’s paradise. (It’s amazing how you and I so often are thinking about the same thing.) Well, you’d be wrong, it was actually a pitcher’s park. Which makes these mind-blowing stats that much more amazing.

Wikipedia shines a lens on his incredible season, saying, “That year Hamilton set the all-time standard for most runs scored in a season (198); since then, Babe Ruth has come closest to Hamilton in runs scored, with 177 in 1921, setting the American League and modern MLB record. Hamilton also set the record for most stolen bases in one game, with seven on August 31, 1894. He set the record for most consecutive games scoring one or more runs, with 35 runs in 24 games in July–August 1894.”

duffy3

CF-Hugh Duffy, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

1890 1891

.440, 18 HR, 145 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1894 NL Batting Average (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.440

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.196

Hits-237 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-374

Doubles-51

Home Runs-18

Runs Created-187

Adj. Batting Runs-68

Adj. Batting Wins-5.6

Extra Base Hits-85

Offensive Win %-.852

Power-Speed #-26.2 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Batting average is baseball’s most famous stat. Yes, it’s true, we’re smarter nowadays and understand BA doesn’t do a good job of telling a player’s value, but it’s an easy way to make a judgment of a player and how good they are at hitting. On scoreboards around the league, when the lineup is shown, the batting average of the player is also displayed. Here, in these three numbers, we’re letting you know how good the player is, the scoreboards seem to be telling us.

Yet, I know you know the career home run leader is Barry Bonds and he broke the record of Mark McGwire, who beat Roger Maris, who beat the Babe. But do you know the person with the highest batting average of all time? Well, since I’m writing about him, you’ve probably guessed it’s Hugh Duffy in this 1894 season. Unless you include the National Association, because Levi Meyerle hit .492 in 1871. But he only played 26 games that season, so we’ll throw that out.

Of course, some people don’t give Duffy credit either, because for some, baseball didn’t really start until 1901 when the American League formed. Then the record belongs to Nap Lajoie, who hit .426 in 1901. I’ve also heard the highest batting average of all-time belongs to Rogers Hornsby, who hit .424 in 1924, because, um, reasons!

I don’t have to go through all of Duffy’s stats because he led in so many and you can see those above. I will say this is his best season ever, but it’s possibly his last All-Star season.

stenzel

CF-Jake Stenzel, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

.352, 13 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Jacob Charles “Jake” Stenzel born Jacob Charles Stelzle was born on June 24, 1867 in Cincinnati, OH. He started as a part-time catcher for Chicago in 1890, then went oh-for-nine with the Pirates in 1892. From that beginning, we seem him in 1894 finishing seventh in Offensive WAR (5.0) while slashing .352/.440/.577 with 61 stolen bases and a 145 OPS+. Because of some of the gaudy numbers we’ve seen in the last few write-ups, you might overlook Stenzel, but this was a good season.

Here’s some info on Stenzel from SABR: “The son of German immigrants, he was born Jacob Charles Stelzle in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 24, 1867. He changed his name to Stenzel when he left Cincinnati to play professional baseball in Wheeling, West Virginia, while still a teenager. A right-handed hitter and thrower, he began as a catcher despite possessing excellent speed and being on the light size for a catcher, weighing 165 pounds on a 5′-10″ frame.

“In 1894 he posted his career- best numbers, leading Pittsburgh in average, hits, doubles, home runs, stolen bases, walks, and runs. He achieved career bests in triples (20), home runs (13), runs (149), RBI (121), and walks (75). On June 6, 1894, against Boston he slammed two home runs in the third inning to tie the major league record. The Pirates, however, slipped to the second division.

“Charles Faber has rated the mid-nineties Pirate outfield of Patsy Donovan, Stenzel, and Elmer Smith as one of the top three outfields of the nineteenth century.”

griffin2

CF-Mike Griffin, Brooklyn Grooms, 29 Years Old

1891

.357, 5 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-There was no lack of good centerfielders in the National League this season. Griffin is the fourth one to make the All-Star team. He also had the highest WAR on Brooklyn and is the only one of the Grooms to be an All-Star. He slashed .357/.466/.485 with 39 stolen bases for an OPS+ of 137. He’s not going to make any of the Hall of Fames, but Griffin had a decent career. Because of the proliferation of runs this year and the era in which he played, his on-base percentage of .467 is the highest of all-time in what would eventually become the Dodgers’ franchise. For a team with its long history and tremendous success, that’s quite a feat.

Despite having only one All-Star, Brooklyn didn’t do badly. Dave Foutz managed the team to a fifth-place 70-61 finish. Judging by their runs scored and runs allowed, the Grooms should have finished .500, but played over their heads. When you see a team playing above its Pythagorean record, how much of that credit should go to the manager and how much is just luck?

Here’s some random details on his career from Wikipedia, which states, “Scouted and signed by Billy Barnie of the Baltimore Orioles, while playing for the local Utica professional team, he was one of the premiere ball players at the time, leading his league in runs scored in 1889 and doubles in 1891. On April 16, 1887, he became the first major league player to hit a home run in his first plate appearance.”

thompson6

RF-Sam Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies, 34 Years Old

1886 1887 1891 1892 1893

.415, 13 HR, 147 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.696 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-147 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-182

Fielding %-.972

6th Time All-Star-Since I started this webpage, I keep running into things I want to count. I’ve developed two Halls of Fame and then I started counting who makes the most All-Star teams at every position. Here’s where they stand so far:

P-Tim Keefe, 11

C-Charlie Bennett, 9

1B-Cap Anson, 13

2B-Fred Dunlap, 7

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

SS-Jack Glasscock, 11

LF-Charley Jones, 5

CF-Paul Hines, 8

RF-Sam Thompson, 6

So at least by that measure, Big Sam Thompson is the game’s best rightfielder so far. This season, he finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.2) and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.5). He missed 30 games or he would have rated higher. Thompson hit .415, third in the league behind Hugh Duffy (.440) and Tuck Turner (.418); had an on-base percentage of .465; led the league in slugging; stole 27 bases; and had a league-leading Adjusted OPS+ of 182. All of his slash numbers along with his OPS+ were all career highs.

According to Wikipedia, “Thompson missed a month from the 1894 season with an injury to the little finger on his left hand. Doctors determined that the smaller bones in the finger were dead, and portions of the finger were surgically removed in mid-May 1894. Despite the injury and partial amputation, and being limited to only 102 games, Thompson compiled a .407 batting average with a career-high 28 triples and a league-leading 147 RBIs. His 1894 ratio of 1.44 RBIs per game remains the all-time major league record. Also, his 28 triples was the second highest total in major league history up to that time and remains the fifth highest of all time. Thompson also led the National League with a career-high .696 slugging percentage, and he hit for the cycle on August 17, 1894.”