1904 American League All-Star Team

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Harry Howell, SLB

P-Jesse Tannehill, BOS

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Bill Bernhard, CLE

P-Casey Patten, WSH

C-Joe Sugden, SLB

C-Lew Drill, WSH/DET

1B-Harry Davis, PHA

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Danny Murphy, PHA

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

3B-Lee Tannehill, CHW

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Freddy Parent, BOS

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

SS-Kid Elberfeld, NYY

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Willie Keeler, NYY

 

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

1901 1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.0

Wins-41 (2nd Time)

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

Hits per 9 IP-6.691

Games Pitched-55

Innings Pitched-454 2/3

Games Started-51

Complete Games-48

Batters Faced-1,720

Adj. Pitching Runs-44

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.2

Def. Games as P-55

Assists as P-166

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

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

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

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P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 37 Years Old

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

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

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

Shutouts-10 (7th Time)

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

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

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

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

P- Cy Young (14)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

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

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

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P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-10.5 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-8.201 (4th Time)

Strikeouts-349 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-165 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.59 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1901 1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

1901

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

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

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

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

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P-Jesse Tannehill, Boston Americans, 29 Years Old

1898 1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

dinneen6

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 28 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

mullin2

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-131 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as P-13

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

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

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

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

bernhard2

P-Bill Bernhard, Cleveland Naps, 33 Years Old

1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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P-Casey Patten, Washington Senators, 30 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-3

Hits Allowed-367

Earned Runs Allowed-122

Hit by Pitch-20

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

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

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

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

.267, 0 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-11

Fielding % as C-.989

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

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

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

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

.255, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-24

Double Plays Turned as C-11

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

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

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

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1904 National League All-Star Team

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

P-Kid Nichols, STL

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Jack Taylor, STL

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Jack Harper, CIN

P-Togie Pittinger, BSN

P-Jack Cronin, BRO

C-Mike Grady, STL

C-Frank Bowerman, NYG

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Dan McGann, NYG

1B-Jake Beckley, STL

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

2B-Johnny Evers, CHC

3B-Art Devlin, NYG

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, NYG

LF-Sam Mertes, NYG

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

CF-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

 

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

1899 1900 1901 1902N 1902A 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1904 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-9.5 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-9.8 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.61

Wins-35 (4th Time)

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

Walks & Hits per IP-0.963

Games Pitched-51 (3rd Time)

Saves-5

Innings Pitched-408 (4th Time)

Shutouts-9

Batters Faced-1,588 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-168

Adj. Pitching Runs-52 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (2nd Time)

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

Assists as P-127

Errors Committed as P-13 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

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

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

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

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P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.058

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

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

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

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

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

1901 1902 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-212 (2nd Time)

Games Started-46

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

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

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

weimer2

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 30 Years Old

1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

taylorj2

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

1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Complete Games-39

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

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

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

leever3

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 32 Years Old

1900 1903

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

harper

P-Jack Harper, Cincinnati Reds, 26 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-12

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

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

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

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

pittinger2

P-Togie Pittinger, Boston Beaneaters, 32 Years Old

1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-144 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.027

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

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

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

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

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

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

cronin

P-Jack Cronin, Brooklyn Superbas, 30 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs Allowed-10

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

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

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

grady

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

.313, 5 HR, 43 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

bowerman

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-7.02

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

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

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

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

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

chance2

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

1903

.310, 6 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

mcgann2

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

1898

.286, 6 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-18 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

beckley9

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

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894 1900 1901 1902

.325, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,526 (6th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ritchey3

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

1902 1903

.263, 0 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-156

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

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

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

evers

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

.265, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-518

Putouts as 2B-381

Assists as 2B-518

Errors Committed as 2B-54

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.07

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.91

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

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

devlina

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

.281, 1 HR, 66 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

leach2

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

1902

.257, 2 HR, 56 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-146

Putouts as 3B-212

Assists as 3B-371 (2nd Time)

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

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.11

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

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

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

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

wagner6

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902 1903

.349, 4 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1904 NL Batting Title (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.3 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-8.5 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.349 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.423

Slugging %-.520 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-255 (2nd Time)

Doubles-44 (3rd Time)

Stolen Bases-53 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-188 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-107 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-54 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-6.0 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.856 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

dahlen8

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

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902 1903

.268, 2 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-3.1 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-80

Assists as SS-494 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

mertes

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

.276, 4 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

thomas3

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 30 Years Old

1899 1903

.290, 3 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-102 (5th Time)

Times on Base-251 (5th Time)

Putouts as OF-321 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

seymour3

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 31 Years Old

1899 1903

.313, 5 HR, 58 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.52

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

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

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

bresnahan2

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

1903

.284, 5 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

1903 American League All-Star Team

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Bill Donovan, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-Willie Sudhoff, SLB

P-Doc White, CHW

P-George Mullin, DET

P-Jack Chesbro, NYY

P-Highball Wilson, WSH

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

C-Ossee Schrecongost, PHA

1B-John Anderson, SLB

2B-Nap Lajoie, CLE

2B-Jimmy Williams, NYY

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

SS-Freddy Parent, BOS

SS-Kid Elberfeld, DET/NYY

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-Billy Lush, DET

CF-Jimmy Barrett, DET

RF-Sam Crawford, DET

RF-Elmer Flick, CLE

RF-Danny Green, CHW

 

young13P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 36 Years Old

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-8.6 (6th Time)

Wins-28 (5th Time)

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

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

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

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

Complete Games-34 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-7 (6th Time)

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

Adj. Pitching Runs-34 (6th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.7 (6th Time)

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

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

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

P- Cy Young (13)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

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

waddell2

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-8.8

Strikeouts per 9 IP-8.389 (3rd Time)

Strikeouts-302 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-34

Wild Pitches-9

Fielding Independent Pitching-1.87 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

donovan2

P-Bill Donovan, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

1901

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Complete Games-34

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

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

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

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

plank3

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 27 Years Old

1901 1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-43

Games Started-40

Batters Faced-1,363

Def. Games as P-43

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

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

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

dinneen5

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 27 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2

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

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

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

sudhoff

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

whited2

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

1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

mullin

P-George Mullin, Detroit Tigers, 22 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2

Bases on Balls-106

Putouts as P-38

Assists as P-108

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

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

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

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

chesbro3

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

1901 1902

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

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P-Highball Wilson, Washington Senators, 24 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Naps, 29 Years Old

1902

.261, 1 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as C-.988

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

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

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

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C-Ossee Schrecongost, Philadelphia Athletics, 28 Years Old

1899

.255, 3 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-367 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

1901

.284, 2 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.65

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

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

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

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

1897 1900 1901 1902

.344, 7 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1903 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-8.0 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.2 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.344 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.518 (3rd Time)

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

Adjusted OPS+-169 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-40 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.3 (2nd Time)

Offensive Win %-.796 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 2B-366 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1899 1901

.267, 3 HR, 82 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 2B-438

Fielding % as 2B-.957

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

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

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

1902

.313, 6 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-136 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-299

Errors Committed as 3B-37

2nd Time All-Star-Bradley made his second straight All-Star team and if weren’t for his more famous and talented teammate, Nap Lajoie, he’d possibly be the best position player in the league. This season, he finished sixth in WAR (7.1), second in WAR Position Players (7.1), second in Offensive WAR (6.0), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.6), fifth in batting (.313), second in slugging (.496), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (153). He’s slowly going to star declining, but he’s not done yet. He also hit for the cycle on September 24 in a 12-2 win over Washington.

SABR says of him, “From 1901 to 1904 Bill Bradley was arguably the best young player in the American League. Wielding a heavy bat he nicknamed Big Bennie, the 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander was one of the junior circuit’s most feared hitters, becoming the first player to homer in four straight games in 1902, and batting .300 or better three consecutive years. A natural power hitter who was out of place in the run-deprived Deadball Era, Bradley was not a fan of the ‘inside’ strategies championed by many of the game’s leading figures. ‘Brilliant coaching makes me tired,’ he once bluntly declared. ‘This idea…that coachers, teamwork, and the so-called inside ball … makes or unmakes a team, is foolishness.’ Yet Bradley was no simple-minded basher; he was admired throughout the league for his aggressive base running and brilliant fielding at third base, where he led the league in double plays three times and fielding percentage four times.”

collins5

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 33 Years Old

1897 1898 1901 1902

.296, 5 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as 3B-178 (4th Time)

Double Plays Turned as 3B-19 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.37 (4th Time)

Fielding % as 3B-.952 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Another highlight was added to the career of Collins, as he managed the first modern World Series victor. Boston easily won the league crown with a 91-47 record, beating the second place Athletics by 14-and-a-half games. The Americans had the best hitting in the league led by shortstop Freddy Parent and the best pitching led by the great Cy Young. Their foe would be a stacked Pittsburgh Pirates team, led by pitcher Sam Leever and shortstop Honus Wagner. The problem for the Steel City team was injuries, as Leever was hurt — though he gamely still pitched — along with other pitchers. Deacon Phillippe ended up starting five of the eight games for Pittsburgh in the best-of-nine series. Collins was able to use his one-two combination of Young and  Bill Dinneen to put away the Buccos. The manager hit .250 in the series with one double, two triples, and three of the team’s five stolen bases.

As for Collins’ regular season, he finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.3), third in Offensive WAR (4.4), seventh in Defensive WAR (1.4), and eighth in slugging (.448). He continued to be a great all-around player along with being a heady manager. SABR wraps it all up, stating, “The initial third baseman enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jimmy Collins was an outstanding fielder and above-average hitter during his 14-year major-league career in the Deadball Era. As the first manager of the Boston franchise in the American League, Collins gained widespread acclaim when he led the team to consecutive pennants in 1903 and 1904 and victory in the inaugural 1903 World Series.”

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SS-Freddy Parent, Boston Americans, 27 Years Old

1901

.304, 4 HR, 80 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.4

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

2nd Time All-Star-Because this was the first year of the modern World Series, there are lot of firsts in this list and Parent was the first shortstop of the first team to win the Series. He had his best season ever, finishing ninth in WAR (6.4), third in WAR Position Players (6.4), fourth in Offensive War (5.0), first in Defensive WAR (2.4), ninth in batting (.304), and ninth in slugging (.441). That’s very good hitting for a shortstop, though not at the level of his World Series counterpart Honus Wagner.

In the Series, Parent continued his marvelous season, hitting .281 with three triples. He led the team in runs scored with eight as Boston won the Series, 5-3.

Baseball Reference says, “His two best seasons were in 1903 and 1904, and not coincidentally, Boston won the pennant both years. He hit .304 with 17 triples (tying Jimmy Collins for 4th in the AL) and 80 RBI in 1903, outshining the great (but hobbled) Honus Wagner in the World Series.”

More on Parent from SABR: Sparkplug shortstop Freddy Parent, the ‘Flying Frenchman,’ led the Boston Americans with MVP-type seasons to the first modern World Series championship in 1903 and the American League pennant in 1904. An early American League star, Parent (along with teammate Buck Freeman) was its first ironman, playing in 413 consecutive games from the April 26, 1901, opener to September 25, 1903, surprising considering his aggressive playing style.” As you can tell from the write-ups, Parent is going to have another great season, but he’s going to start to decline after that.

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SS-Kid Elberfeld, Detroit Tigers/New York Highlanders, 28 Years Old

1901

.301, 0 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit By Pitch-15

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.69 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Fiery Kid Elberfeld, The Tabasco Kid, continued to play well though he didn’t make the All-Star last season. This season, he started for Detroit, playing 35 games for them and hitting .341. SABR then says of his trade, “Near the end of the 1902 season, New York Giants’ owner John T. Brush and manager John McGraw attempted to beef up their last place team by signing several Detroit players, and reportedly signed Elberfeld to a two-year contract for $4500 per year. McGraw’s personality appealed to Elberfeld. ‘McGraw always liked me,’ Elberfeld said. ‘I played his aggressive style of ball. And I would have liked to have played for him.” But the 1903 peace agreement returned Elberfeld to Detroit, and, when Edward Barrow was suddenly named to replace suicide-victim Win Mercer as new Detroit manager, Barrow inherited an unhappy shortstop. Though Elberfeld started fast, batting .431 after the first three weeks of the season, his hitting soon tailed off and his fielding was shoddy. On June 2, Barrow fined and suspended him for ‘loaferish conduct,’ suspecting Elberfeld of playing poorly to force a trade to the St. Louis Browns. Eight days later, Barrow did trade him, not to St. Louis, but to the New York Highlanders.

“The move nearly derailed the nascent peace treaty between the leagues. Brush, opposed to peace in the first place, viewed the trade as an attempt by AL President Ban Johnson to siphon fans from the Giants. Brush badgered NL President Harry Pulliam into declaring that Johnson had violated the ‘spirit if not the letter’ of the treaty and persuaded Pulliam to let McGraw use George Davis–then the subject of a dispute between the Giants and the Chicago White Sox–at shortstop. The case dragged on for weeks.”

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SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1898 1899 1901 1902

.266, 1 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists-468 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-468 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.68 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Shortstop is an interesting position, one that lauds defense as much as, if not more than, offense. Ozzie Smith was an okay hitter, but that’s not why anybody remembers him. In this era, Bobby Wallace and Honus Wagner are the two best shortstops in their respective leagues, but the Flying Dutchman does it with the bat and is more famous, while Wallace toils in obscurity, garnering fame through his glove. It also didn’t help that Wallace mainly played on bad teams. As his Hall of Fame pages says, “Because of his smart style of play and his remarkable defensive skills, Wallace was able to play the game until he was 44 years old. After taking the field for a total of 25 seasons, he holds the record for the longest career in baseball without ever making an appearance at the World Series.” Here’s the thing that amazes me, the Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1953 despite not having WAR or all of the other high-falutin’ defensive metrics we have nowadays.

This season, Wallace finished second in Defensive WAR (2.2), as per usual. He would finish in the top 10 in that category 13 times and he’s not done making All-Star teams.

In a book titled Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Little-Known Members of the Hall of Fame by David L. Feitz, it says, “The fact that Wallace was a shortstop may have assisted his candidacy. At the time of his election, there were only four shortstops in the Hall of Fame.”

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LF-Billy Lush, Detroit Tigers, 29 Years Old

.274, 1 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-34

1st Time All-Star-William Lucas “Billy” Lush was born on November 10, 1873 in Bridgeport, CT. He started as an outfielder for Washington from 1895-97. He didn’t play again in the Majors until 1901, when he played for the Beaneaters from 1901-02. Before this season, he signed as a free agent for Detroit and helped them have the best outfield in the American League. All three positions made the All-Star team. Lush finished fourth in on-base percentage (.379), walking 70 times.

After this season, Lush would play one year for Cleveland in 1904 and his career would be over at the age of 30.

Wikipedia details his after baseball life in surprisingly lengthy detail. Here’s part of it: “After his playing career ended, Lush became a coach of college baseball and college basketball. He held coaching positions at Yale UniversityColumbia UniversityFordham University, the United States Naval AcademySt. John’s University, the University of Baltimore and Trinity College, Hartford.

“Lush began work as Yale’s baseball coach in 1905, with Walter Camp serving as the team’s advisory coach. In his first year, Lush led Yale to its first baseball championship in six years. In February 1906, Yale engaged him for a term of three years. He remained in charge of the Yale baseball team in 1906 and 1907, but he was replaced by Tad Jones in 1908. Yale decided not to retain Lush when the school decided to cease using professional coaches. As Lush had another year remaining on his contract, Yale paid him in full for his services.

“In the 1930s, Lush moved to Ossining, New York, where he coached athletic teams and assisted in the medical department at Sing Sing prison. He later operated a tea room and guest house in Ossining. In August 1951, Lush died at a convalescent home in Hawthorne, New York at age 77. He was survived by his second wife, Lillian Goodwin Lush, and six children.”

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CF-Jimmy Barrett, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

.315, 2 HR, 31 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.407

Bases on Balls-74

Times on Base-243

Assists as OF-19 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Erigena “Jimmy” Barrett was born on March 28, 1875 in Athol, MA, the same day (though not year) as my sister-in-law. He started his career with Cincinnati in 1899-1900, before jumping to Detroit in the American League’s inaugural season. This season, Barrett finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.9), fourth in batting (.315), first in on-base percentage (.407), 10th in steals (27), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (144). You would think he’s still got an impressive career left, but unfortunately in 1905, his position will be taken by someone you may know, Ty Cobb.

Here’s some highlights from Wikipedia detailing the rest of his career: “During the 1903 and 1904 seasons, Barrett clashed with Detroit manager, Ed Barrow. In his autobiography, ‘My Fifty Years in Baseball’, Barrow wrote that he never got along with Barrett. When Detroit owner, Frank Navin, blocked Barrow’s efforts to trade the star center fielder, Barrow quit. Barrow wrote that, on one occasion, Barrett complained to Barrow that ‘your methods take all the individuality away from a ballplayer.’ Barrow responded, ‘Young man, if you ever speak to me that way again I will take more than your individuality away from you. I will knock your block off.’

“In 1905, Barrow was gone as the Tigers manager, but a leg injury slowed Barrett and resulted in his appearing in only 20 games. When Ty Cobb joined the Tigers in August, Barrett faced a new threat. Detroit’s new manager Bill Armour introduced Cobb to Barrett. He told Cobb that Barrett’s ‘knee was on the bum, and I’m using you in his place in center field.’ Barrett was given the task of teaching Cobb the team’s signs, which included a system Barrett had developed in 1905 for stealing the opponents’ signs.”

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RF-Sam Crawford, Detroit Tigers, 23 Years Old

1901 1902

.335, 4 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-25 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-98 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam completes the All-Star team hat trick for the Detroit outfielders and he was the best of them all. He came over from the Reds and Crawford finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.6), third in Offensive WAR (5.3), second in batting (.335), ninth in on-base percentage (.366), fourth in slugging (.489), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (159). He still has better seasons ahead and it’s too bad he was Scottie Pippen to Ty Cobb’s Michael Jordan for so many years.

Why would Cincinnati give this man up? Wikipedia says, “At the end of 1902, a bidding war for players developed between the National and American Leagues. Crawford signed contracts with both the Reds and the Detroit Tigers. The competing contracts led to a publicized legal dispute, with a judge ultimately awarding Crawford to the Tigers but requiring $3,000 in compensation to the Reds.”

SABR states, “Crawford immediately became a fixture in the Tiger outfield, appearing in 137 or more games every year for the next 13 years, during which he batted better than .300 eight times. Crawford’s main defensive position was right field, except for 1907 through 1909, when he manned center and the Tigers won three consecutive pennants. Contemporary reports suggest that Crawford was considered a fairly good outfielder. Although he never led the league in assists, Crawford consistently threw out between 16 and 24 baserunners each season from 1900 to 1907. Though not a particularly fast runner, Crawford also covered the outfield terrain more than adequately, and consistently ranked among the league leaders in putouts, although he never led the league in that category.”

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RF-Elmer Flick, Cleveland Naps, 27 Years Old

1898 1900 1901

.296, 2 HR, 51 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-In the beginning of 1902, Flick jumped  to the American League and played 11 games for Philadelphia, before coming to Cleveland for the rest of his career. The new league and the jumping around kept him off the All-Star team, but Flick is settled in now and had a good season. He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4), eighth in on-base percentage (.368), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

                Wikipedia says, “Flick was one of many star NL players who jumped to the fledgling American League (AL) after the 1901 season, playing for the crosstown Philadelphia Athletics. Flick played in 11 games for the Athletics, before the Phillies obtained an injunction from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prohibiting any player under contract with the Phillies from playing for another team. Though this injunction named Lajoie, Bill Bernhard, and Chick Fraser only, it still applied to Flick as well. As a recourse, Flick and teammate Lajoie signed instead with the Cleveland Naps, as the Pennsylvania injunction could not be enforced in Ohio. The two players often traveled separately from their teammates for the next year, never setting foot in Pennsylvania in order to avoid a subpoena. Flick spent the remainder of his career in Cleveland, and the contract dispute was resolved when the leagues made peace in September 1903 with the National Agreement.” Just in case you were wondering, Cleveland did have losing records against Philadelphia in 1902 and 1903, which you would figure for a team which didn’t have Lajoie and Flick in the lineup.

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RF-Danny Green, Chicago White Sox, 26 Years Old

.309, 6 HR, 62 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-Edward “Danny” Green was born on November 6, 1876 in Burlington, NJ. There are no height and weight stats for him on Baseball Reference. He started as an outfielder for Chicago in the National League in 1898 and then jumped to the White Sox in 1902. His home team would be in Windy City all eight years of his career. Green had the best year of his career, finishing 10th in WAR Position Players (4.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (4.4), eighth in batting (.309), fifth in on-base percentage (.375), eighth in steals (29), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (145). After this season, he’d play 1904 and 1905 with the White Sox and his major league career was done, one year before the Hitless Wonders had their great run.

As so many of these players did, he had a temper. In the book Mudville Madness: Fabulous Feats, Belligerent Behavior, and Erratic Episodes on the Diamond by Jonathan Weeks, it says on July 7, 1903, “Police intervention was required in another episode of umpires and players behaving badly. This time, the setting was Hilltop Park in New York. Chicago’s right fielder Danny Green made the second out of the seventh inning, and after complaining loudly to umpire Jack Sheridan, he was thrown out of the game. On his way back to the dugout, Green muttered something to the official that sounded to witnesses like an invitation to slug it out after the game.

“Shortly afterward, Green called Sheridan a ‘bull head’ from the bench. Sheridan pulled off his mask and approached the White Sox dugout as the sulking outfielder stepped up to greet him. To the complete surprise of players and spectators, Sheridan smashed Green over the head with his mask. The two clenched briefly until police broke it up.”

1903 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-King Kelly

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Jake Weimer, CHC

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Jack Sutthoff, CIN

P-Tully Sparks, PHI

P-Mordecai Brown, STL

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

C-Pat Moran, BSN

1B-Frank Chance, CHC

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, CIN

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

LF-Mike Donlin, CIN

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

CF-Roger Bresnahan, NYG

CF-Ginger Beaumont, PIT

CF-Cy Seymour, CIN

 

kelly91903 ONEHOF Inductee-King Kelly, RF

1879 1881 1882 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888

.307, 69 HR, 950 RBI, 2-2, 4.14 ERA, 4 K, 43.3 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 1904: Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, George Davis, and Bill Dahlen.

You have to go back and read what I’ve already written about Kelly during his playing career to understand what a character this man was. He’s most famous for, well, cheating and cutting from first to third when the umpire wasn’t looking. However, the number of times he did this seems to be lower than his reputation would indicate. He also might be the model for Casey in Casey at the Bat.

Along with being a great player, who made the All-Star team at numerous positions, he was also a winner, winning five league championships with National League Chicago team, one for the Players League  Boston Reds, and one for the NL Boston Beaneaters, or seven altogether. He played hard, lived hard, and died young. Wikipedia says, “In November 1894, Kelly died of pneumonia in Boston. He had taken a boat there from New York to appear at the Palace Theatre with the London Gaiety Girls. At the start of the final week of his life, an advertisement in Boston read: ‘Slide, Kelly, Slide. Palace Theatre. The London Gaiety Girls, Chaperoned by King Kelly, the Famous $10,000 Base Ballist.’ During the week, his name was deleted when he was too ill to appear. ‘He caught a slight cold on the boat from New York, but thought little of it’, a writer said upon his death.”

mcginnity6

P-Joe McGinnity, New York Giants, 32 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902N 1902A

31-20, 2.43 ERA, 171 K, .206, 0 HR, 11 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-11.3

WAR for Pitchers-11.6

Wins-31 (3rd Time)

Games Pitched-55 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-434 (3rd Time)

Games Started-48 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-44 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-1,786 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-48

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.8

Def. Games as P-55 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-31

Errors Committed as P-16

6th Time All-Star-McGinnity had his best season ever, winning 30 games for the first time in his career, so welcome to Ron’s Hall of Fame, Iron Man! McGinnity finished first in WAR (11.3), first in WAR for Pitchers (11.6), fourth in ERA (2.43), first in innings pitched (434), and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (139). It begs the question if he would have pitched a few games less per season in his career, would have his Major League career been longer and ultimately more valuable or did his value come from his boatload of innings pitched every season? In his long career, Cy Young led innings pitched just twice, in 1902 and 1903, but he’s already 36 years old at this point and will pitch well into his 40s. McGinnity’s 434 innings pitched is the most since Pink Hawley’s 444 1/3 in 1895, but would be beat by Jack Chesbro next season, and also Ed Walsh’s 464 in 1908, which would be the last season any pitcher would pitch 400 or more innings. I guess the answer to my earlier question is, it’s hard to say, and Cy Young is an incredible freak of nature.

As for Iron Man’s team, the Giants, no one was ready to beat the Pirates yet, but New York was close. Coached by John McGraw, the team finished in second place with a 84-55 record, six-and-a-half games out of first. They were in first place after June 17 with a 35-15 record, but went 49-40 after that, certainly not good enough to beat the juggernaut Pittsburgh squad.

mathewson3P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 22 Years Old

1901 1902

30-13, 2.26 ERA, 267 K, .226, 1 HR, 20 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.560

Strikeouts-267

Wild Pitches-18 (3rd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.34

3rd Time All-Star-Well, that didn’t take long. Mathewson will be traveling to Carter Lake, Iowa, to be inducted into Ron’s Hall of Fame with his teammate, Joe McGinnity. What a pitching staff the Giants had! New York was 61-33 in games their two studs pitched and 23-22 in games decided by other pitchers. Big Six finished second in WAR (10.2), second in WAR for Pitchers (9.9), second in Earned Run Average (2.26), second in innings pitched (366 1/3), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (149). He would never lead the league in Ks per nine innings again, but this was the first of five seasons Matty would lead the National League in whiffs.

Mathewson’s Hall of Fame page says, “He was the first great pitching star of the modern era, and is still the standard by which greatness is measured.

“Christy Mathewson changed the way people perceived baseball players by his actions on and off the field. His combination of power and poise – his tenacity and temperance – remains baseball’s ideal.

“Using his famous ‘fadeaway’ pitch – what today would be called a screwball – the 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander baffled batters with pinpoint control. He won 20 games in his first full big league season in 1901, posted at least 30 wins a season from 1903-05 and led the National League in strikeouts five times between 1903 and 1908.

“From 1903-14, Mathewson never won fewer than 23 games in a season and led the NL in ERA five times.” He did have the advantage of pitching during the Deadball Era, but it doesn’t diminish his incredible career.

hahn5

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 24 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

22-12, 2.52 ERA, 127 K, .161, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

5th Time All-Star-If Noodles could have added another 5.4 WAR somewhere, he’d be in my Hall of Fame. As it is, he’s one of the best there is in the “outside looking in” category. It was a typical Hahn season, as he finished fourth in WAR (7.4), third in WAR for Pitchers (7.8), seventh in ERA (2.52), eighth in innings pitched (296), and third in Adjusted ERA+ (141). Pitching in a hitter’s paradise called Palace of the Fans, he still dazzled teams with his arm.

Cincinnati stayed in fourth, but did improve its record from .500 in 1902 to 74-65 this season. It never really had a chance, finishing 16-and-a-half games out of first, despite having the second best hitting and arguably the best pitching in the league. Joe Kelley was in the second of four seasons he’d manage the Reds.

From Wikipedia: “In February 1903, Hahn was a student at Cincinnati Veterinary College. Asked how long he planned to play baseball, he replied that he would like to play a few more seasons. Hahn had given up beer and liquor over the winter and said that he felt good going into the season, but he entertained the possibility that the coming year could be his last. Hahn planned to finish school the next winter and had thoughts of completing postgraduate work and taking a trip to Germany before beginning veterinary practice. In 1904, Hahn turned down an offer to become the city veterinarian for Dallas, Texas and remained with the Cincinnati club.”

leever2

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1900

25-7, 2.06 ERA, 90 K, .165, 0 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1903 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.06

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

Shutouts-7

Adjusted ERA+-159

2nd Time All-Star-In baseball, some numbers look gaudier than others. One of those is Win-Loss Percentage. I know there were probably better pitchers in the National League in 1903, but that won-loss record of 25-7 just looks so good. And it’s not like it was compiled by luck, Leever had a great year – his best ever – finishing sixth in WAR (6.1), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.5), first in ERA (2.06), 10th in innings pitched (284 1/3), and first in Adjusted ERA+ (159).

He also had the privilege of pitching in the first modern day World Series, where he Clayton Kershaw-ed in his two games, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Leever would be the first of many players who had a great regular season, but a not-so-stellar postseason, at least in our modern era. (It’s funny calling 114 years ago our modern era.)

According to SABR, his substandard performance was due to an injury. It says, “Late in the 1903 season, Leever hurt his right shoulder in a trapshooting contest in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Leever was an avid and accomplished trap shooter his entire life, but his injury dearly cost the Pirates in the 1903 World Series. Called ‘one of the best in the world today’ in The Sporting News just prior to the series, Leever started the second game but removed himself after one inning. Six days later, he was asked to pitch the sixth game, and though he was able to finish, he was beaten 6-3. The Pirates fell to the upstart Bostons, in large part because of Leever’s inability to pitch effectively. The Pirate pitching staff was further handicapped by Ed Doheny‘s late-season nervous breakdown, leaving Phillippe to start five of the eight World Series games.”

willis4P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

1899 1901 1902

12-18, 2.98 ERA, 125 K, .188, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-After pitching 410 innings in 1902, one had to wonder if Willis would be affected by all that work on his arm. The truth is he wasn’t, what really affected him was the bad team he was on. Despite a 12-18 record, Willis still finished seventh in WAR (5.9 and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1). He would have bad won-loss records through 1905, but once he came to a good team, the Pirates, that would turn around.

As for his team, the Beaneaters, Al Buckenberger managed the team again, but they fell from third to sixth, with a 58-80 record. Because of Willis, their pitching was decent, but they didn’t have much hitting.

Willis’ Hall of Fame page says, “From 1903 to 1905, though he collected only 42 wins for Boston, along with 72 losses, his ERA was 3.02 over the three-year span, and twice he posted a mark of under 3.00. The Beaneaters’ offense hurt the pitcher’s stats, with a combined .238 batting average in the three seasons. But Willis had still developed into the foundation of Boston’s staff when he was traded to the Pirates following that stretch.”

The American League was always after Willis, according to SABR, which states, “The American League came calling again during the 1902 season. Detroit Tiger President Sam Angus met Willis in the Victoria Hotel and offered a large cash downpayment on a two-year contract of $4,500 per season. Naturally tempted by the cash and salary, Willis initially accepted, but again later reneged after Boston reportedly matched the offer. His services remained in dispute until after the season when he was awarded to Boston as part of the peace settlement between the two leagues.”

weimer

P-Jake Weimer, Chicago Cubs, 29 Years Old

20-8, 2.30 ERA, 128 K, .196, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.692

1st Time All-Star-Jacob “Tornado Jake” Weimer was born on November 29, 1873 in Ottumwa, IA, just like Walter “Radar” O’Reilly. He had a sensation rookie season, finishing ninth in WAR (5.6), sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5), third in ERA (2.30), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (136). He would have a short career, but he’d do well, finishing 97-69.

As for the newly-named Cubs, Frank Selee took them from fifth to third, with an 82-56 season. They were just nine-and-a-half in back of the Pirates. Chicago had good hitting, led by Frank Chance, and good pitching, led by Weimer.

In a book entitled Baseball’s Heartland War, 1902-1903: The Western League and American Association Vie for Turf, Players and Profits by Dennis Pajot, it says, “Another jumper from the Kansas City A.A. club to the Western was pitcher Jake Weimer, who had been the ace pitcher on Tebeau’s 1901 Western League team. On April 11 Dale Gear filed an injunction to restrain Weimer from playing with the Western League team. Gear claimed Weimer was ‘a pitcher of unusual ability’ who signed with the Kansas City club in the old Western League on August 14, 1901, for the 1902 season. Weimer’s contract had been transferred to the American Association Kansas City club, which Weimer ratified. The original American Association contract was for $850, but the Western League increased the amount to $1,500.” If you can stay awake, you can read the rest for yourself, but it’s a reminder that there were other pro leagues around at the time, even if they were not considered Major Leagues.

phillippe2

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 31 Years Old

1900

25-9, 2.43 ERA, 123 K, .210, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.030

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-0.902 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.241 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-In Sam Leever’s blurb, I mentioned his injury led to Phillippe having to start five games in the World Series. It’s undoubtedly the thing for which Phillippe is most famous. Here were the results of those five games:

GAME 1-Phillippe pitched a complete game six-hitter, allowing three runs with two of them earned. He struck out 10 Americans and bested Cy Young to lead Pittsburgh to a 7-3 victory.

GAME 3-On one day of rest, Phillippe again completed the game, allowing four hits and striking out six and helping the Pirates to a 4-2 win, putting them up two games to one.

GAME 4-Phillippe continued his great pitching when, on two days of rest, he completed his third straight game and guided Pittsburgh to a 5-4 win. He only struck out two and allowed nine hits as there were already signs his arm was tiring. The Pirates went up in the series, 3-1.

GAME 7-Phillippe had three days of rest this time, but couldn’t stop the charging Americans, who won the game, 7-3. He again completed the game, but allowed 11 hits and only struck out two.

GAME 8-In a stunning upset, Boston beat the Pirates, 3-0, to take the first Modern Day World Series. On two days of rest, Phillippe allowed eight hits and struck out two, but it wasn’t enough against Bill Dinneen, who also won three games this series.

Altogether, Phillippe went 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 44 innings. He was the only Pittsburgh pitcher to have any wins.

sutthoff

P-Jack Sutthoff, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

16-9, 2.80 ERA, 76 K, .143, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 187 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-John Gerhard “Sunny Jack” Sutthoff was born on June 29, 1873 in Cincinnati, OH. He started by pitching two games for Washington in 1898, then moved to St. Louis, pitching three games in 1899. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 1900, but did go 1-6 for the Reds in 1901. Whatever happened in his year off in 1902, it helped him come back this season and have his best year ever. Sunny Jack finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9) and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (127). It would be one of only two seasons he’d have a positive WAR as a pitcher. After this season, he would pitch for Cincinnati and Philadelphia in 1904 and then conclude his career with Philadelphia in 1905. He would finish with a 32-40 record, a 3.54 ERA, and 198 strikeouts. Sutthoff never had a season where he didn’t walk more than he K’d, as he ended up with 291 bases on balls.

SABR says, “Coming off his strong 1903 campaign, Sutthoff received the assignment to pitch Opening Day 1904 in the Palace of the Fans. The Reds needed a change of fortunes; they had lost their previous five home openers. The local athlete delivered, defeating Chicago, 3-2. At mid-season, with a 5-6 record and his earned-run average at a career-best 2.30, Sutthoff had to have been surprised when his hometown team dealt him to the last-place Philadelphia Phillies.

“In August 1941, Sutthoff was diagnosed with throat cancer — most likely the result of his lifelong tobacco-chewing habit. Doctors termed it inoperable. Still, in his final days, Sunny Jack lived up to his nickname. ‘He never grumbled about anything,’ his son said. ‘Even when he was dying of cancer.’ Jack Sutthoff died at home on August 3, 1942.”

sparks

P-Tully Sparks, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

11-15, 2.72 ERA, 88 K, .109, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Thomas Frank “Tully” Sparks was born on December 12, 1874 in Etna, GA. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty started by pitching one game for Philadelphia in 1897, then pitched regularly after that, first for Pittsburgh in 1899, then for the American League Milwaukee Brewers in 1901. In 1902, Sparks pitched in both leagues, for the National League Giants and the AL Americans. This season, he did the opposite of what many were doing in jumping from the NL to the AL and jumped from the AL to the NL, ending up on the Phillies. Sparks finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.8) and ninth in ERA (2.72). He’d be one of Philadelphia’s best pitchers for a few years.

As for the Phillies, a new manager, Chief Zimmer, couldn’t help them out of seventh place. Philadelphia finished 49-86, 39-and-a-half games out of first. Despite having Sparks on the team, it had the worst pitching in the league with a 3.96 ERA.

SABR states, “As it happens, Sparks finally found a baseball home. After all his travels from one team or another, he played with the Phillies for the remaining eight seasons of his career, 1903 through 1910. In every one of them, save the 15 innings of work in the final year, he posted earned-run averages that never reached as high as three runs a game. Including the nine earned runs he gave up in the one game he pitched in 1897, his career ERA with the Phillies was 2.48. He won the same number of games as he lost, 95-95.”

brownm

P-Mordecai Brown, St. Louis Cardinals, 26 Years Old

9-13, 2.60 ERA, 83 K, .195, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Mordecai Peter Centennial “Three Finger” or “Miner” Brown was born on October 19, 1876 in Nyesville, IN. The five-foot-10, 175 pound righty had a good rookie year on his way to a sensational career. He was known mainly as Three Finger Brown because, as his Hall of Fame page says, “Brown’s life changed when – as a five year old – he got his right index finger caught in a machine designed to separate grain from stalks and husks. The digit was sliced off, leaving only a stump. The next year, Brown damaged the hand again in a fall – breaking the remaining fingers. The bones healed, but the fingers were left at permanently odd angles.” It should be noted he actually had four-and-a-half fingers, not three.

Brown finished eighth in ERA (2.60) and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (126) as St. Louis’ best pitcher. As for the Cardinals, they dropped from sixth to eighth under the guidance of Patsy Donovan, finishing with a 43-94 record. They had the worst hitting team in the league, scoring only 3.63 runs a game and one of the worst pitching teams despite having Miner.

SABR says of his rookie season, “After that season in Omaha, Mordecai joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 1903. His major-league debut for St. Louis, against Chicago of the National League, was similar to the outing in Coxville. In both games Brown pitched five innings, and his dominance over hitters was obvious to all observers. While his rookie record was not impressive, 9-13, it should be remembered that St. Louis was the last-place team that year in the National League, 46 1/2 games back. Brown’s earned run average was the lowest on the team at 2.60, and his nine wins tied veteran Chappie McFarland for most on the team.”

kling2

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Cubs, 27 Years Old

1902

.297, 3 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Putouts as C-565 (2nd Time)

Caught Stealing as C-150 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-While it still was no joyride to catch, it was getting easier and some of the catchers in the leagues were able to play a large percentage of games, including Kling, who caught in an incredible 132 of 138 games. He had his best season ever, finishing fifth in Defensive WAR (1.2), and made his second consecutive All-Star team. In 1937, he received his highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes with 10 percent. We look at his stats and say, “Not bad,” but people who saw him and knew more about him were impressed.

Wikipedia has a long section on whether Kling was Jewish or not. Here’s a snippet: “Speculation about whether Kling was Jewish has persisted over the years. One source says he used the name “Kline” early in his career, a surname that is sometimes (but not always) Jewish. And although he was married to a Jewish woman in a ceremony conducted by a Reform Jewish rabbi, there are questions that have never been fully resolved. Interestingly, the major Jewish newspapers never questioned Kling’s Jewishness: writers and reporters frequently referred to him as Jewish, in articles from the 1920s through the 1970s. The Boston Jewish Advocate was among those that asserted his real name was John Kline, and said he had even played baseball under that name; one writer said he was ‘the first of the Jewish [baseball] pioneers’ (Harold U. Ribalow, “Johnny Kling Showed the Way”, Jewish Advocate, 12 April 1951, p. 22).” His Jewish widow denied it however.

moran

C-Pat Moran, Boston Beaneaters, 27 Years Old

.262, 7 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per HR-55.6

Assists as C-214

Double Plays Turned as C-17

Passed Balls-24

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-155

Caught Stealing as C-150

1st Time All-Star-Patrick Joseph “Pat” Moran was born on February 7, 1876 in Fitchburg, MA. The five-foot-10, 180 pound catcher started with Boston in 1901 and had his best season ever this year, finishing ninth in Defensive WAR (0.7) and second in homers with seven. This league needed steroids! He would continue playing for Boston through 1905, move to the Cubs from 1906-09, when Chicago was mighty, then finish as a part-time player for Philadelphia from 1910-14. This season, he had career highs in batting average (.262), on-base percentage (.331), slugging (.406), and OPS+ (113).

Of course, Moran achieved the most fame for coaching the 1919 Cincinnati Reds to a World Series victory. As Wikipedia says, “This should have been Moran’s crowning accomplishment. But when it was charged that eight key members of the White Sox had conspired with gamblers to ‘throw’ the series — the infamous Black Sox Scandal — the Reds’ achievement was somehow tarnished. (The eight White Sox players were acquitted in a controversial 1920 trial but were nonetheless expelled from baseball.) In the wake of the scandal, Moran, his players and many baseball experts would furiously assert that Cincinnati would have won the series under any circumstances.

“Moran remained at the helm in Cincinnati during the early 1920s. Apart from a poor 1921 campaign, the Reds fielded contending ballclubs but did not return to the World Series. The club finished second in both 1922 and 1923. While spending the winter of 1923–24 at his Fitchburg home, Moran was taken ill. He was able to report to the Reds’ training camp in Orlando, Florida, but his condition worsened and he died there at the age of 48. The cause of death was listed as Bright’s Disease, a kidney ailment, but some baseball historians ascribe Moran’s fatal illness to alcoholism.”

chance

1B-Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs, 26 Years Old

.327, 2 HR, 81 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-67

Errors Committed as 1B-36

1st Time All-Star-Frank Leroy “Husk” or “The Peerless Leader” Chance was born on September 9, 1876 in Fresno, CA. The six-foot, 190 pound first baseman was famous for being part of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination for the Cubs and it’s probably that poem that got him into the Hall of Fame. He certainly wasn’t a bad player, it just took him a while to become a regular. Chance had been a part of the Cubs since 1898, but started as a part-time catcher and outfielder. This was his first year as a fulltime first baseman and Husk was outstanding, finishing eighth in WAR (5.7), third in WAR Position Players (5.7), third in Offensive WAR (5.5), third in on-base percentage (.439), first in stolen bases (67), and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (152). He was also the manager of the Cubs dynasty later in this decade.

Chance’s Hall of Fame page says, “But Chance’s most enduring legacy – despite his success on the field and in the dugout – has been as the subject of the most celebrated baseball poem ever written.

“Baseball’s Sad Lexicon uses the refrain ‘Tinkers (sic) to Evers to Chance’ as a description of the Chicago Cub’s double-play combination in the early 1900s. After mostly catching and playing outfield for his first four years in the big leagues, Chance played the majority of his games at first base beginning in 1902, leading to his place in the poem.” So now Joe Tinker has made the All-Star team in 1902 and The Peerless Leader made it this season. All that’s left is Johnny Evers.

tenney3

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Beaneaters, 31 Years Old

1899 1902

.313, 3 HR, 41 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as 1B-93 (4th Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Tenney might have had a shot at the Hall of Fame if his talent didn’t truly kick in until he turned 30. Still, he continued to be one on the National League’s best first sackers. This season, Tenney finished 10th in Offensive WAR (3.7), sixth in on-base percentage (.415), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (135). He wasn’t your typical bruiser first baseman, being only 155 pounds, but he was definitely an asset to Boston.

After his career, according to SABR, “Tenney worked in Boston for the Equitable Life Insurance Society for more than three decades. When friends introduced him as ‘the best first baseman who ever lived,’ he typically replied, with a smile, ‘Thank you, but you know as well as I do that there was only one first baseman-Hal Chase.’ At least as far back as 1901, Tenney had served as a correspondent for Baseball Magazine, the Boston Sunday Post, and the New York Times, and he returned to writing in his post-baseball career, typically describing the strengths of pre-Deadball stars without suggesting that the game had declined in the years since. Local newspapers also ran his rudimentary caricatures of players and fans at spring training. Fred Tenney died at age 80 on July 3, 1952, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, just a few miles away from the South End Grounds where he had roamed the right side of the infield for so many seasons.” He might have got a job as a color analyst had he lived in a different time.

ritchey2

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1902

.287, 0 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 2B-137 (2nd Time)

Assists as 2B-460 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.961 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Little All Right made his second consecutive All-Star team. Alright, alright, alright! He finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.4) and second in Defensive WAR (2.0), his best defensive season ever. People talked about Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, but Wagner-to-Ritchey-to-Bransfield wasn’t bad either.

Ritchey had an off World Series, going four-for-27 (.148), with a double and seven strikeouts. This was surprising seeing he only struck out 29 times all season. Pittsburgh should have had no problem winning the Series, but many of their players choked or were injured. Still, Ritchey had his third consecutive National League title.

In a book entitled The 1903 World Series: The Boston Americans, the Pittsburg Pirates, and the “First Championship of the United States” by Andy Dabilis and Nick Tsiotos, there is a story about the aftermath of the series that told of Ritchey being owed two dollars by Ed Doheny. According to Wikipedia, “Edwin Richard Doheny (November 24, 1873 – December 29, 1916) was an American baseball player. He played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1895 to 1903, first for the New York Giants, then for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1903 he violently attacked several people, was declared insane and was committed to Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts. He died on December 29, 1916, in Medfield Insane Asylum.

“Ed was first suspended as a Pirate on May 18, 1903, due to an incident while at-bat against the Giants. Having already incensed fans by pelting both Joe McGinnity and Dan McGann in the back with fastballs, Doheny tossed his bat into the air as the Giants’ catcher tried to settle under his pop-up. Unaware that he’d already been ruled out on account of the infield fly rule, the jeering crowd mistook his antics as an attempt to interfere with gameplay. Doheny lost his composure and mockingly bowed to the fans. An angry mob followed him back to the clubhouse after the game, threatening him and throwing stones. Doheny was suspended for three days without pay.” Sad story.

steinfeldt

3B-Harry Steinfeldt, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

.312, 6 HR, 83 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-32

1st Time All-Star-Harry M. Steinfeldt was born on September 29, 1877 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-nine, 180 pound infielder started with the Reds in 1898, but didn’t really turn it on until this year. He’d have a pretty good prime, but not a long enough one to make the Hall of Fame. This season, Steinfeldt finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9), fifth in slugging (.481), and eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (136).

SABR says, “Today Harry Steinfeldt is the answer to a oft-heard trivia question: Who was the third baseman in the Cubs’ famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield? In his time, however, the .267 lifetime hitter was considered one of the greatest third basemen in the game. ‘Harry Steinfeldt, the Cubs third baseman whose glorious fielding kept the dashing Ty Cobb off the base paths in a couple of world’s series, and whose lusty wallops sent many a fellow-Cub scampering across home plate in the last few years, is another who was dubbed unfit by an erring leader in ill-fated Cincinnati,’ wrote Alfred H. Spink in 1910. ‘Harry left the haunts of the Reds, jumped in and completed Frank Chance’s sterling infield, and still holds his court there, a veritable terror to seekers of base hits and stolen cushions.’”

At this point in baseball history, third base is the position most bereft of stars. Ned Williamson might be the best thus far and even he’s not in any of the three Hall of Fames. Steinfeldt was good for a little while, but not for a long enough stretch to be an All-Time great.

wagner5

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902

.355, 5 HR, 101 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1903 NL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-7.6 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (3rd Time)

Batting Average-.355 (2nd Time)

Triples-19 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-108 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-54 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-51

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.18

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.31

5th Time All-Star-When a player is as good as Wagner was, you can usually tell. Nowadays, you watch someone like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper and there’s something different about them from other players. They will put up the stats, yes, but they will also pass the eyeball test. It’s hard to explain, but they just look like athletes.

Yet from all accounts, that wasn’t Wagner. He was more like a Pete Rose, who didn’t look athletic, but played the game hard. He was known as the Flying Dutchman because of that great competitiveness and hustle he had.

This season, Wagner finished third in WAR (7.3), first in WAR Position Players (7.6), first in Offensive WAR (6.6), third in Defensive WAR (1.7, he was starting to get shortstop down), first in batting (.355), eighth in on-base percentage (.414), second in slugging (.518), third in stolen bases (46), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (160). He was the major part of Pittsburgh’s third straight championship and went to his first World Series.

In that series, the depleted-in-pitching Pirates needed Wagner to be at his best and, shockingly, he wasn’t. He went six-for-27 (.222) with a double and three stolen bases. Of course, if you’re facing studs like Cy Young and Bill Dinneen every game, it’s going to be tough to hit. Still, it was the one blemish on an outstanding season for Wagner. However, he’ll eventually be back to the Series and prove himself. And it’s not like he has anything of which to be ashamed.

dahlen7

SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 33 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900 1902

.262, 1 HR, 64 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.5

Assists-477 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as SS-138 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-477 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.948

7th Time All-Star-If there was anyone upset Honus Wagner moved to shortstop, it would have been Dahlen. Shortstop should be a position of banjo hitters, players who are on the field for their gloves not their bats, and, at this point in his career, that certainly describes Bad Bill. Yet every year, Dahlen goes head to head at his position with a man who’s the best hitter in the game and is also starting to be an outstanding fielder on his own. It’s just not fair.

This season, Dahlen finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0), first in Defensive WAR (2.5), and eighth in stolen bases (34).

As for Brooklyn, it wasn’t loaded with superstars, but still managed a decent 70-66 record, though it did drop from second to fifth this year. Ned Hanlon, a manager who had five pennants to his name, guided the team for the fifth straight season. As indicated by the fact the Superbas had no pitching All-Stars, that was the team’s weakness.

In a Sporting News article about Dahlen’s Hall of Fame candidacy, it says, “If a candidate played well enough, though, character generally isn’t a deciding factor. By numerous accounts, Dahlen played brilliantly. After Dahlen’s trade from Brooklyn to the Giants in December 1903, manager Ned Hanlon told the New York Times, ‘I’ve parted with Dahlen, and somehow I feel that I have just parted with half of my team.’ The following season, with the Giants in the thick of the National League pennant race, McGraw declared Dahlen the game’s best shortstop.” I urge you to read the whole thing.

sheckard3

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

1901 1902

.332, 9 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-9

Stolen Bases-67 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-42

Adj. Batting Wins-4.4

Power-Speed #-15.9 (2nd Time)

Assists as OF-36

3rd Time All-Star-It was definitely a different era in baseball during this time, when nine home runs could lead the league in that category. Sheckard had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.0), second in WAR Position Players (7.0), second in Offensive WAR (6.0), seventh in batting (.332), fourth in on-base percentage (.423), seventh in slugging (.476), first in steals (67), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (158). The 175 pounder had power and speed and was one of the best leftfielders of his day.

Dodgers Insider says, “Later, in 1903 with Brooklyn, Sheckard led the NL in both homers (nine) and steals (67), a feat matched since by only Ty Cobb and Chuck Klein, while reaching base at a .423 clip.

“Sheckard had a massive decline to a .630 OPS in 1904, before rallying to a solid season in 1905. But that winter, Brooklyn traded Sheckard to the Cubs in exchange for Buttons Briggs, Doc Casey, Billy Maloney, Jack McCarthy and $2,000. None of the four players made particularly meaningful contributions.”

From SABR: “In 1962 sportswriter Joe Reichler named Jimmy Sheckard as the left fielder on the All-Time Chicago Cubs team. Sheckard was a left-handed slugger who batted in the middle of the order during his early years with Brooklyn, then became a leadoff man and master at getting on base in his later years with the Cubs. In various seasons he led the National League in triples, home runs, slugging, runs, on-base percentage, walks, and stolen bases. Sheckard also was an outstanding defensive outfielder–both SABR and STATS, Inc., selected him to their retroactive Gold Glove teams for the first decade of the Deadball Era–and the right-handed thrower’s career assist total is one of the highest in history for an outfielder.”

donlin2

LF-Mike Donlin, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1901

.351, 7 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Offensive Win %-.804

2nd Time All-Star-After making the All-Star team with the American League Baltimore Orioles in 1901, Donlin was traded to Cincinnati the next season, but only played 34 games. This year, he played 126 games and was back on the list. Turkey Mike finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.5), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.4), third in batting (.351), fifth in on-base percentage (.420), third in slugging (.516), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (155).

As for why he played so few games in 1902, Wikipedia states, “’Turkey Mike’, nicknamed because of his gait while walking, hit .340 with Baltimore, which was good for second in the league. But in March of 1902, he was sentenced to six months in prison for his actions during a drinking binge and was promptly released by the Orioles. After serving his time, Donlin was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds and hit .287 for them in the last month of the season. In 1903, he finished third in the league in hitting at .351 and placed in the top five in the National League in virtually every offensive category.” According to SABR, his drunken binge including urinating in public and accosting two chorus girls.

More from SABR: “A flamboyant playboy and partygoer who dressed impeccably and always had a quip and a handshake for everyone he met, Mike Donlin was ‘one of the most picturesque, most written-about, most likeable athletes that ever cut his mark on the big circuit.’ Donlin also could hit as well as anyone in baseball during the Deadball Era. Though he rarely walked, the powerfully built 5′ 9″ left-hander was a masterful curveball hitter with power to all fields.”

clarke5LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30 Years Old

1895 1897 1901 1902

.351, 5 HR, 70 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.532

On-Base Plus Slugging-.946

Doubles-32

Adjusted OPS+-164 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Clarke received so much acclaim as a manager it can be hard to forget what a good player he is. This year, he entered Ron’s Hall of Fame with his fifth All-Star team. But he also managed Pittsburgh to its third consecutive National League title. As a hitter, Clarke finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.3), second in batting (.351), seventh in on-base percentage (.401), first in slugging (.532), and first in Adjusted OPS+ (164). It helped Clarke to have Honus Wagner on his team, certainly, but he also helped himself.

The Pirates won the league title with a 91-49 record and went to the first World Series. How did baseball’s championship get started? Wikipedia says, “The leagues finally called a truce in the winter of 1902–03 and formed the National Commission to preside over organized baseball. The following season, the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates had secured their respective championship pennants by September. That August, Dreyfuss challenged the American League to an eleven-game championship series. Encouraged by Johnson and National League President Harry Pulliam, Americans owner Henry J. Killilea met with Dreyfuss in Pittsburg in September and instead agreed to a best-of-nine championship, with the first three games played in Boston, the next four in Allegheny City, and the remaining two (if necessary) in Boston.”

Pittsburgh should have easily won, but, as Wikipedia tells us, it was full of injuries: “Although the Pirates had dominated their league for the previous three years, they went into the series riddled with injuries and plagued by bizarre misfortunes. Otto Krueger, the team’s only utility player, was beaned on September 19 and never fully played in the series. 16-game winner Ed Doheny left the team three days later, exhibiting signs of paranoia; he was committed to an insane asylum the following month. Leever had been battling an injury to his pitching arm (which he made worse by entering a trapshooting competition). Worst of all, Wagner, who had a sore thumb throughout the season, injured his right leg in September and was never 100 percent for the post-season. “ Pittsburgh lost, 5-3.

thomas2

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 29 Years Old

1899

.327, 1 HR, 27 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.453 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-107 (4th Time)

Times on Base-266 (4th Time)

Putouts as OF-318

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.59

2nd Time All-Star-If you go back and read Thomas’ 1899 blurb, you’ll realize this whole Deadball Era and lack of scoring is all this man’s fault. Because he was so good at fouling pitches off, both leagues finally adopted the foul-strike rule where the fouls counted as strikes for the first two. It wasn’t stopping Thomas from being successful as he had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR (5.5), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.5), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.2), eighth in batting (.327), first in on-base percentage (.453), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (141).

The year 1902 was the first year Philadelphia didn’t have at least one All-Star outfielder since 1889. That’s mostly because of Sliding Billy Hamilton and Big Ed Delahanty, who died during this season. Thomas will keep this streak going for at least a couple of years.

There is a long article at Baseball History Daily about Thomas’ Christian faith and him not playing Sundays. Please read the whole thing, but here’s a snippet: “’Manager Zimmer had some trouble getting Roy Thomas to play in the Sunday game, he claiming that he had not contracted to play on Sunday, and that he had no desire to break the Sabbath.  In the end, however, Zimmer prevailed and Thomas went into the game.’

“The Philadelphia Times said Zimmer talked to the team’s new owner, James Potter, who was reported to have said:

“’So he won’t play today, eh?  Well, then place him on the bench today, tomorrow and for the remainder of the season, without pay.’”

bresnahan

CF-Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants, 24 Years Old

.350, 4 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Roger Philip “The Duke of Tralee” Bresnahan was born on June 11, 1879 in Toledo, OH. The five-foot-nine, 200 pound Hall of Famer started playing six games for Washington as an 18-year-old in 1897 then didn’t play in the Major Leagues until 1900 where we played two games for Chicago. After that he jumped to the American League, where he played for Baltimore in 1901. In 1902, he started with the Orioles then was released mid-season and picked up by the Giants. Bresnahan would gain most of his fame as one of baseball’s first true superstar catchers, but he was a centerfielder this season.

The Duke of Tralee finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.6), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.8), fourth in batting (.350), second in on-base percentage (.443), fourth in slugging (.493), eighth in stolen bases (34), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (162). He probably would have done better if he hadn’t missed over 20 games.

SABR says of him, “A versatile athlete who played all nine positions at the major-league level, Roger Bresnahan is generally regarded today as the Deadball Era’s most famous catcher, as well known for his innovations in protective equipment as for his unusual skill package that made him one of the first catchers ever used continuously at the top of the batting order. Catchers almost always batted eighth in the Deadball Era, but Bresnahan was adept at reaching base (he had a .419 on-base percentage in 1906) and possessed surprising speed despite his 5’9″, 200-pound frame.”

beaumont2

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1902

.341, 7 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-141

At Bats-613

Plate Appearances-674

Runs Scored-137

Hits-209 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-272

Singles-166 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as OF-141

2nd Time All-Star-Beaumont was a huge part of Pittsburgh’s three straight titles from 1901 to 1903. He had speed and power and this year, finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), Offensive WAR (4.2), sixth in batting (.341), and 10th in slugging (.444). It wasn’t as good as 1902, but it was still an impressive season.

In the World Series, Beaumont, like so many Pirates, had trouble against the good pitching of the Boston Americans. He went nine-for-34 (.265), with a triple, which was way below his regular season production. He was also the first batter in modern World Series history. As SABR says, “Of course the highlight of that season came on October 1 in front of 16,242 screaming fans at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Park. Stepping in to face the great Cy Young, Beaumont lofted a fly ball to center field that was caught by Boston’s Chick Stahl, thus becoming the first batter in the history of the modern World Series. For the eight-game Series Ginger batted .265 and led the Pirates with six runs scored.”

A site called Baseball: Past and Present says of Beaumont, “On most days between April and September, I talk about Clarence H. “Ginger” Beaumont. Among my duties as a Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park tour guide is to show guests the home team batting cage.

“On the wall is the list of all the Pirates who have won batting championships—-eleven different players for a total of 25 crowns.” This article, like most on Beaumont, goes on to mention his red hair and being the first batter in the World Series.

seymour2

CF-Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

1899

.342, 7 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as OF-318

Errors Committed as OF-36

2nd Time All-Star-When Seymour last made the All-Star team in 1899, he was a pitcher for the New York Giants. He also did this in 1900, before moving to Baltimore in 1901, where he permanently moved to the outfield. In 1902, he played half of the season for the Orioles and then went to the Reds when Baltimore started dumping players. This season, he had his first All-Star team as an outfielder, finishing fifth in batting average (.342), sixth in slugging (.478), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (134). There certainly were a lot of good centerfielders in the National League at this time.

SABR has much on his switch from pitcher to outfielder. Here’s just a bit: “Pitching for mediocre and dispirited New York Giants teams, Seymour had established himself as a premier pitcher in an age of hitting prowess. That his pitching career effectively came to an end in 1900 had more to do with an apparent arm injury than his wildness. Indeed, Cincinnati pitcher Ted Breitenstein warned Seymour not to continue using the indrop ball (screwball) because it would leave his arm ‘as dead as one of those mummies in the Art Museum.’ Perhaps he injured his arm in spring training, but a few days before the regular 1900 campaign began he found himself playing centerfield for the ‘Second Team’ in an intra-squad contest. Just two days prior to the season opener the New York Times indicated that: ‘Manager Ewing will give particular attention to Seymour’ to determine if he would be the opening game pitcher since the reluctant Amos Rusie had failed to report.”

1902 American League All-Star Team

P-Rube Waddell, PHA

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Bill Dinneen, BOS

P-Jack Powell, SLB

P-Red Donahue, SLB

P-Bill Bernhard, PHA/CLE

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Win Mercer, DET

P-Joe McGinnity, BLA

P-Ed Siever, DET

C-Harry Bemis, CLE

C-Boileryard Clarke, WSH

1B-Charlie Hickman, BOS/CLE

2B-Nap Lajoie, PHA/CLE

3B-Bill Bradley, CLE

3B-Lave Cross, PHA

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

3B-Sammy Strang, CHW

SS-George Davis, CHW

SS-Bobby Wallace, SLB

LF-Ed Delahanty, WSH

LF-Jesse Burkett, SLB

CF-Fielder Jones, CHW

RF-Socks Seybold, PHA

RF-Buck Freeman, BOS

 

waddell

P-Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

24-7, 2.05 ERA, 210 K, .286, 1 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-10.3

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.840 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-210

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.281

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.28

1st Time All-Star-George Edward “Rube” Waddell was born on October 13, 1876 in Bradford, PA. The six-foot-one, 196 pound lefty earned his reputation through his fireball fastball. Waddell started in 1897 with Louisville, pitching two games, and then taking a year off from the Majors. He came back in 1899 with Louisville, then pitched for Pittsburgh in 1900-01. On May 2, 1901, he was purchased by Chicago from the Pirates, then jumped from the Orphans to a minor league Los Angeles team. In the middle of this season, Waddell jumped to Philadelphia, which makes you wonder what he would have done in a full season. As it was, Rube’s phenomenal arm led him to the first of many All-Star teams.

It also led his team to the first of many league championships. Connie Mack guided the Athletics to a first place 83-53 record. On July 12, Philadelphia was as far back as seven-and-a-half games before winning 10 of 11 and edging up to only one game behind. It took over first on August 15 and never looked back. Third baseman Lave Cross paced the hitters, with Waddell providing the main pitching arm.

According to SABR, “Meanwhile, Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics was in trouble.  He had lost Nap Lajoie and pitchers Bill Bernhard and Chick Fraser in a court decision won by the Phillies. Eddie Plank was a year away from becoming a great pitcher, while Chief Bender was still at Carlisle. Waddell pitched for Mack in 1900 at Milwaukee, where he won 10 and lost 3 in a little over a month, after jumping from the Pirates in mid-season. So early in June, Connie sent Rube a wire, and, after taking two weeks to make up his mind, Rube headed east on June 20, much to the disgust of Manager Morley of Los Angeles.”

young12

P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 35 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901

32-11, 2.15 ERA, 160 K, .230, 1 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR for Pitchers-10.0 (6th Time)

Wins-32 (4th Time)

Games Pitched-45

Innings Pitched-384 2/3

Games Started-43

Complete Games-41 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-57 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.8 (5th Time)

Def. Games as P-45

12th Time All-Star-After the 1902 season ended, Pud Galvin had 365 wins and Young totaled 351. Spoiler alert! He’s going to break that next year. He has made 12 consecutive All-Star teams, won 20 or more 11 of those and won 30 or more in five of those. There’s not much more to say, except that he has made the All-Star team as a pitcher more times than anyone. Here are the leaders by position:

P- Cy Young (12)

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (9)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

He still has about five All-Star seasons left, which if he accomplishes, will tie him with Anson, who had 17 total. Young also incredibly led his league in innings pitched and games started for the first time ever at the age of 35. Yet, he will be 40 years old before he finally starts declining.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Young also helped young people, according to Wikipedia, which states, “In February 1902, before the start of the baseball season, Young served as a pitching coach at Harvard University. The sixth-grade graduate instructing Harvard students delighted Boston newspapers. The following year, Young coached at Mercer University during the spring. The team went on to win the Georgia state championship in 1903, 1904, and 1905.”

From the same article is this quote from Cyclone: “I never warmed up ten, fifteen minutes before a game like most pitchers do. I’d loosen up, three, four minutes. Five at the outside. And I never went to the bullpen. Oh, I’d relieve all right, plenty of times, but I went right from the bench to the box, and I’d take a few warm-up pitches and be ready. Then I had good control. I aimed to make the batter hit the ball, and I threw as few pitches as possible. That’s why I was able to work every other day.”

dinneen4

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Americans, 26 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

21-21, 2.93 ERA, 136 K, .128, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Losses-21

Batters Faced-1,508

4th Time All-Star-How did Boston not win the American League pennant with two greats like Cy Young and Bill Dinneen toiling for it on the mound? The two hurlers started 87 of Boston’s 138 games. Dinneen jumped leagues, but didn’t jump cities, moving from the Beaneaters to the Americans, but staying in Boston.

In the old days, pitchers were rated by categories like “wins” and “losses.” You might have heard of them. Despite Dinneen’s good year – he finished seventh in WAR (5.9) and third in WAR for Pitchers (7.0) – he still led the league in losses. Yet that usually has to do with offensive support and Dinneen apparently didn’t have enough of it. He’ll most likely be back next season and his arm would come through at the right time. You’ll have to wait for that story.

Moving to the AL helped Dinneen, according to SABR, which says, “In his first three seasons with the Americans, Dinneen won 65 games, averaged more than 300 innings per season, and posted a 2.49 ERA. Dinneen was one of baseball’s best pitchers from 1900 to 1904, finishing in the top ten in his league each season in innings pitched, starts, complete games, and strikeouts, and finishing in the top five in victories in 1900 and from 1902 to 1904.”

Dinneen is also a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, which remarks, “Bill Dinneen secured his place in Syracuse baseball history by becoming an outstanding pitcher then continuing his baseball life as an umpire. Dinneen was the star hurler for several organizations but peaked in the early 1900s. Dinneen won 20 games for the 1900 Boston Braves but really came into his own when he jumped to the Red Sox in 1902.”

powell2

P-Jack Powell, St. Louis Browns, 27 Years Old

1897

22-17, 3.21 ERA, 137 K, .205, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since Red made the All-Star team in 1897 in his rookie year, he pitched one more season for Cleveland in 1898 before moving to St. Louis, where he pitched from 1899-1901. Before the 1902 season, he jumped leagues and now was the Browns’ ace. When he last made the All-Star team, he had an 80 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame. You can see it has now dropped to 25 percent, because despite good seasons in 1898 and 1899, they weren’t good enough to make the list.

The Browns, who had been the last place Milwaukee Brewers in 1901, moved all the way up to second this season. Jimmy McAleer managed the club to a 78-58 record and as late as August 13, St. Louis was in first place. This was despite having weak hitting and only mediocre pitching.

Wikipedia says of Powell’s last few years, “He made his debut with the Cleveland Spiders in 1897, and by 1898 he became one of the best pitchers on the team. His 23 wins trailed only teammate Cy Young. He was one of the star players sold to the St. Louis Browns before the 1899 season. He won 23 games again that year, which was three more than the Spiders had all year. After three successful seasons, he was lured to the new American League in 1902, where he pitched for the St. Louis Browns.”

It’s probably going to be a few years before Powell makes another All-Star team. He’s not a famous pitcher by any means, but he was consistently good for a lot of bad teams.

donahue2

P-Red Donahue, St. Louis Browns, 29 Years Old

1901

22-11, 2.76 ERA, 63 K, .093, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as P-130

2nd Time All-Star-Along with Red Powell, Red Donahue helped lead St. Louis to a second place finish this season. I mentioned in Powell’s blurb that St. Louis’ pitching was mediocre and when one of two Reds wasn’t on the mound, that was certainly true. Powell and Donahue won 44 of St. Louis’ 77 victories. Donahue actually had a higher WAR for Pitchers (6.0-5.8), but was such a horrendous hitter (slash numbers .093/.123/.119), he lost value because of it. He had a -1.3 Offensive WAR.

Richard F. Peterson wrote a book, The St. Louis Baseball Reader, which says of St. Louis this season, “Obtaining a first-division team in 1902 was quite simple, even though it baffled [John] McGraw in Baltimore. You went into the rival camp with pockets stuffed with greenbacks. In wholesale raids on the Cardinals, the Browns obtained Jesse Burkett, who batted .400 three times; Rhoderick “Bobbie” Wallace, a shortstop then considered second only to the great Hans Wagner; pitchers Jack Powell, Jack Harper, and Willie Sudhoff; and two other outfielders in addition to Burkett, Emmett Heidrick and Billy Maloney. Another ace pitcher, Frank “Red” Donahue, a 22-11 performer in 1902, was snared from the Phillies. With this aggregation of filched talent, Jimmy  McAleer ran second to the Athletics the season Connie Mack brought his first of nine pennants to Philadelphia.”

It was part of the reason the American League would end up succeeding where so many before it failed. The National League didn’t want to lose all of its superstars and would eventually have to come up with a compromise to save itself.

bernhard

P-Bill Bernhard, Philadelphia Athletics/Cleveland Bronchos, 31 Years Old

18-5, 2.15 ERA, 58 K, .191, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.783

Walks & Hits per IP-0.942

Hits per 9 IP-7.009

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Strawberry Bill” Bernhard was born on March 16, 1871 in Clarence, NY, unfortunately too many years before the popularity of Blueberry Hill. The six-foot-one, 205 pound righty started with Philadelphia in 1899-1900 and then moved to the Athletics in 1901. This was his best season ever, though he usually had the benefit of a lot of run support and thus ended up with a career 116-81 record or a .589 winning percentage. He incredibly had winning percentages of .600 or more five times. Bernhard only pitched one game for Philadelphia in 1902 before he signed as a free agent for the Bronchos.

Speaking of Cleveland, it went 69-67 and moved up two slots to fifth place. Bill Armour coached the team, which had the best hitting in the league led by third baseman Bill  Bradley, and decent pitching led by Bernhard.

SABR says, “In 1902 Cleveland manager Bill Armour raved about his pitcher Bill Bernhard: ‘Critics may choose [Rube] Waddell or Cy Young and be welcome, but neither of these two men has anything on “Berny.”’ From 1899 to 1907, Bernhard compiled an impressive 116-81 major league record. The fury of his fastball contrasted with his calm demeanor. Berny was a knowledgeable baseball man, well liked and respected. After his major league career ended, he became a successful minor league manager.”

As for how he got to Cleveland, the article states, “After the supreme court ruling, if the trio played for any team other than the Phillies, they would be in contempt of court and could be arrested if they set foot in Pennsylvania. Fraser decided to return to the Phillies. Bernhard and Lajoie, who were the best of friends, refused to go back to the Phillies. A clever solution was found to keep Bernhard and Lajoie in the American League: Mack released them in April 1902, and they joined the AL’s Cleveland Bronchos.”

plank2

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1901

20-15, 3.30 ERA, 107 K, .292, 0 HR, 16 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes (Would require two more All-Star seasons. Definitely)

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-18

2nd Time All-Star-If you have Plank and Rube Waddell as pitchers, you’re going to win an American League title or two, and that certainly happened with Philadelphia this season. Plank won 20 games for the first of nine times he’d do so in his career. This season would also be the last time he’d ever have an ERA 3.00 or over. When he was 38 years old in 1914, it will be 2.87 and that would be his highest going forward.

Look at what SABR has to say about Plank’s endless motions on the mound: “Eddie Plank fidgeted. On every pitch, Plank went through a seemingly endless ritual: Get the sign from his catcher, fix his cap just so, readjust his shirt and sleeve, hitch up his pants, ask for a new ball, rub it up, stare at a base runner if there was one, look back at his catcher, ask for a new sign and start the process all over again. As if that wasn’t enough, from the seventh inning on, he would begin to talk to himself and the ball out loud: ‘Nine to go, eight to go . . .’ and so on until he had retired the last batter. Frustrated hitters would swing at anything just to have something to do. His fielders would grow antsy. Fans, not wanting to be late for supper, would stay away when he was pitching. Writers, fearful of missing deadlines, roasted him.” He’s seems to be the Nomar Garciaparra of pitchers.

mercer2

P-Win Mercer, Detroit Tigers, 28 Years Old

1897

15-18, 3.04 ERA, 40 K, .180, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-Since Mercer last made the All-Star team in 1897, he pitched with Washington in 1898 and 1899, then moved to New York in 1900. He then pitched for the Senators in 1901 before coming to Detroit this year, his best season ever. It was also his last season ever, because as Wikipedia says, “After the conclusion of the 1902 season, the Tigers appointed the 28-year-old Mercer to be their player-manager for 1903. However, on January 12, 1903, after a barnstorming tour through the west, Mercer checked into the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco and killed himself by inhaling illuminating gas at age 28. Mercer’s suicide won national attention, and there were conflicting reports about the reasons for the suicide. The Sporting News reported that Mercer had been gambling and apparently saw no way to make the deficit good. According to this version, his losses included not only his own money but the funds of other players, with estimates ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. Another report rejected the idea of gambling debts and blamed the suicide on a relationship with a woman. Some reports indicated that Mercer left a suicide note warning of the evils of women and gambling. There is no known substantiation for these reports.” What a terrible loss!

Detroit fell from third to seventh this season. Frank Dwyer took over for George Stallings and the team fell to a 52-83 record. Detroit had the worst hitting in the league, though Mercer helped them have decent pitching.

mcginnity5

P-Joe McGinnity, Baltimore Orioles/New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901 1902N

(AL Stats Only) 13-10, 3.44 ERA, 39 K, .287, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-Iron Man McGinnity began his season with the Orioles, before financial issues forced them into selling off their good players, this man being among them. This was the only season from 1900-to-1904 in which McGinnity didn’t lead the league in innings pitched. As a matter of fact, for the next two seasons, Iron Man is going to pitch over 400 innings. He and Christy Mathewson are going to form quite a duo for the next few years. How did these pitchers in the old days avoid arm injuries?

SABR says of this incredible arm, “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. He was also an ‘Iron Man’ in terms of longevity: he pitched professionally until age 54, racking up 246 wins in the major leagues and another 240 in the minors, a combined total topped only by Cy Young. A stocky 5’11” right-hander, McGinnity for most of his career weighed a good deal more than the 206 lbs. that is listed in record books. He owed his durability to a style of delivery that saw him alternate between overhand, sidearm, and a wicked underhanded curve that he called ‘Old Sal.’ ‘I’ve pitched for 30 years and I believe I’ve averaged over 30 games a season, and in all my experiences I’ve never had what I could truthfully call a sore arm,’ Joe confided.”

siever2

P-Ed Siever, Detroit Tigers, 27 Years Old

1901

8-11, 1.91 ERA, 36 K, .152, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Earned Run Average-1.91

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adjusted ERA+-195

2nd Time All-Star-Siever is going to have a short, but good career, but over the years, not get much run support, and end up with a 83-82 record. Even in this season in which he led the American League in ERA, he ended up with a record under .500. As Wikipedia says of this season, “In 1902, Siever led the American League with a 1.91 ERA, and his Adjusted ERA+ of 195 remains the second best in Tigers history for a pitcher with more than 150 innings pitched. However, the 1902 Tigers lacked hitting and finished in seventh place. Despite his 1.91 ERA, Siever compiled an 8-11 record in 1902. On August 11, 1902, Siever and Rube Waddell engaged in a pitching duel that held both sides scorless through 12 innings. Waddell hit a triple off Siever in the 13th inning to drive in the game’s only run. Siever suffered from arm strain after the pitching duel with Waddell and was only able to pitch in two more games that season. According to one account, ‘His arm was in bad condition owing to strain, the results of that famous battle.’”

You can look at the above story as a reason managers are so careful with their pitchers nowadays, but for every Siever who had arm problems and short careers, there were also Cy Youngs and Joe McGinnitys who didn’t have any of these issues. Also, despite the care taken with today’s pitchers, they seem to go through their own share of arm injuries.

bemis

C-Harry Bemis, Cleveland Bronchos, 28 Years Old

.312, 1 HR, 29 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-87

Assists as C-120

Passed Balls-22

Caught Stealing as C-94

1st Time All-Star-Harry Parker Bemis was born on February 1, 1874 in Farmington, NH. He was tiny for a catcher, standing at five-foot-six, 155 pounds. As you can tell by the fact he led catchers in games played with 87, it was still tough to find catchers who could play much more than half of the games. It’s a brutal position to play nowadays, but it used to be much worse. It was a good rookie year for Bemis, as he slashed .312/.366/.404 for an OPS+ of 117. All of his slash numbers ended up being career highs over the stretch of the nine years he played. He would remain with Cleveland for all of those seasons.

Known as Handsome Harry, he had a temper. Wikipedia states, “In June 1907, Bemis was run over at home plate by Ty Cobb. The Tigers’ star was trying for an inside-the-park home run and knocked Bemis down, jarring the ball loose in the process. Bemis then picked the ball up and beat Cobb over the head with it before he was restrained by the umpire; Bemis was also ejected from the game. Cobb later claimed that Bemis was one of only two intentional spiking targets in his entire career.”

At this point in baseball history, only one catcher has made the Hall of Fame and that was Deacon White, who actually played more games at third base than catcher. For me, I inducted Charlie Bennett into my Hall of Fame and the ONEHOF, because he was one of the rare catchers who went out there and toiled day after day. It’s a brutal position and every year, I have new people who make the All-Star team at catcher, because it’s such a grueling job.

clarkeb2

C-Boileryard Clarke, Washington Senators, 33 Years Old

1901

.268, 6 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-87

Fielding % as C-.972

2nd Time All-Star-Clarke made the All-Star team for the second year in a row, again displaying a great proficiency at defense, finishing 10th in Defensive WAR (0.9), despite playing only 60 percent of his team’s games. He’s only got three years left, playing for Washington in 1903 and 1904, then playing for the Giants in his final year of 1905.

Washington remained in sixth place, with Tom Loftus leading the team to a 61-75 record. The team actually had great hitting, led by Ed Delahanty. It’s the pitching that doomed the Senators. As you can see, they had no pitchers make the All-Star team.

The thing that jumps out at me about Clarke this season is those six home runs. He only hit 20 in his career and never hit more than three in any other season. I know six doesn’t sound like a lot of home runs, but in 1902, it ranked 10th in the league. Only five players, including Clarke’s teammate Delahanty, had double-digit homers, with Philadelphia outfielder Socks Seybold leading the league with 16. It was certainly the deadball era and that’s why when Babe Ruth came along in the late 1910s and started launching home runs left and right, it was such a big deal.

Back to Boileryard’s power, he finished third in the league in AB per HR, so if would have played any position but catcher, he might have been along the league leaders in dingers. Maybe that’s why in 1903, Clarke was moved to first base.

hickman

1B-Charlie Hickman, Boston Americans/Cleveland Bronchos, 26 Years Old

.361, 11 HR, 110 RBI, 0-1, 7.88 ERA, 1 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-193

Total Bases-288

Errors Committed as 1B-40

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.76

1st Time All-Star-Charles Taylor “Piano Legs” or “Cheerful Charlie” Hickman was born on May 4, 1876 in Taylortown, PA. He started with Boston from 1897-99, mainly as a pitcher, then came to the Giants from 1900-01, before he jumped to the Americans before this season. He was then purchased by the Bronchos on June 3. During the season, Piano Legs finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and third in Offensive WAR (5.4), his best season ever. He finished third in batting average (.361), 10th in on-base percentage (.387), third in slugging (.539), and third in Adjusted OPS+ (158). That is a great season for the Deadball Era.

Baseball Reference says, “An early slugger, Hickman approached a triple crown in 1902, placing second in the American League in home runs (11) and RBI (110), and third in BA (.363). The same year he was the first player to lead a league in hits while playing for two teams (Boston and Cleveland) with 193. Earlier that season he Nap Lajoie and Bill Bradley became the first trio to hit consecutive home runs in this century, clubbing back-to-back-to-back round-trippers on June 30th.”

Cleveland certainly looks like they’re going to be a good team in the future. Before this season ended, the Bronchos had Bill Bernhard, Hickman, and Lajoie on the team and certainly looked like a dynasty of the future. Spoiler alert! They’re not. Oh, having Lajoie on your team never hurts, but, while they would be in the top half of the league for many seasons, they could never leapfrog to the top.

lajoie42B-Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Athletics/Cleveland Bronchos, 27 Years Old

1897 1900 1901

.378, 7 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Batting Average-.378 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.27 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.41 (3rd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Lajoie was already one of the great ones in baseball, but he could have been greater. In 1899, he played only 77 games, in 1900, he played only 102, and this season, he ended up playing only 87 games. And, yes, he still made the All-Star team. Lajoie finished fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.8), first in batting average (.378), second in on-base percentage (.419), second in slugging (.565), and second in Adjusted OPS+ (176). This American League baseball is easy, Lajoie must have thought, and he’ll be thinking it for a long time.

Why did he miss so many games? Wikipedia explains, “In April 1902, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania overruled an earlier decision by the Court of Common Pleas and upheld the reserve clause in contracts between players and NL clubs. President of the Chicago National League Club Jim Hart said the state Supreme Court’s decision had dealt ‘a fatal blow to the rival league’ and NL clubs ‘have won a great victory.’ The Phillies’ Rogers obtained an injunction barring Lajoie from playing baseball for any team other than his team. However, a lawyer discovered the injunction was only enforceable in the state of Pennsylvania. The courts ruled the reserve clause was not valid for players who signed with an AL team. Mack responded by trading Lajoie and Bill Bernhard to the then-moribund Cleveland Bronchos, whose owner, Charles Somers, had provided considerable financial assistance to the A’s in the early years. Lajoie was also pursued by Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox.”

bradleyb

3B-Bill Bradley, Cleveland Bronchos, 24 Years Old

.340, 11 HR, 77 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 3B-137

Putouts as 3B-188

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.86 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.74 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William Joseph “Bill” Bradley was born on February 13, 1878 in Cleveland, OH. The six-foot, 185 pound third baseman started with Chicago in 1899 and 1900, before coming to Cleveland in 1901. This season was his best ever as he finished fourth in WAR (6.7), second in WAR Position Players (6.7), second in Offensive WAR (5.9), seventh in Defensive WAR (1.3), sixth in batting average (.340), fourth in slugging (.515), and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (149). He also hit homers in four straight games during the year. Bradley had an all-around great season.

SABR says, “Bradley played in Chicago for $150 a month, sitting on the bench for two weeks before making his debut at shortstop on August 26, 1899. After eight errors in five games, the Cubs shifted him to third base, where he would remain for the rest of his career. Bradley batted .310 in 1899, and in 1900 his salary rose to $300 per month. After another solid season, in which he batted .282 with eight triples, Bradley sought another raise. To his dismay, Cubs management rejected the offer and even told him he might not make the team in 1901.

“After talking with teammate Clark Griffith, Bradley jumped to the American League’s Cleveland franchise, which offered him a $3,500 salary (later to rise to $4,500). Bradley performed well in 1901, leading the team in slugging and scoring 95 runs. In 1902 Bradley came into his own as one of the league’s top stars, homering in four straight games from May 21 to May 24, and also assembling a 29-game hitting streak. Bradley finished the season with career highs in batting average (.340) and slugging percentage (.515).”

cross33B-Lave Cross, Philadelphia Athletics, 36 Years Old

1894 1898

.342, 0 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-139.8

Def. Games as 3B-137

3rd Time All-Star-Cross has gotten in the bad habit of making the All-Star team once every four seasons. Since he last made this list in 1898, he played for Cleveland and St. Louis in 1899, St. Louis and Brooklyn in 1900, before coming to the Athletics in 1901. This season, Cross finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.4), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.1), and fifth in batting (.342), while striking out only four times in 559 at-bats. He also was part of his second league championship team.

Wikipedia says, “With the elevation of the American League to major league status in 1901, many stars from the NL saw an opportunity to move away from that league’s longstanding turmoil and rowdiness. Cross jumped to the Athletics franchise in the new league and became one of the veteran leaders on Connie Mack‘s club. As team captain, he batted .328, and was among the AL leaders in batting, slugging and doubles. In 1902 he improved his average to .342 and was among the league’s top three players in hits (191), doubles (39) and RBI (108) as the Athletics won the pennant; the 108 RBI were a record for a player without any home runs. On April 23 of that year he began a streak of 447 consecutive games (all but one of them at third base), then one of the ten longest in history, which ended on May 8, 1905.” The position which seems to have the least superstars is third base and Cross is one of the best.

collins4

3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 32 Years Old

1897 1898 1901

.322, 6 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 3B-.954

4th Time All-Star-In these early days of baseball, there were a lot of player-managers, with Collins being one of them. It would seem tough enough to be a player for a whole baseball season, never mind having to control the team also, but it didn’t seem to be much of a problem for Collins. As a player, he finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3), fifth in Defensive WAR (1.5), ninth in batting (.322), and ninth in slugging (.459). He was one of the great all-around third basemen of his day.

As a manager, he guided the Americans to a third-place finish, dropping from second place in 1902. With Cy Young and Bill Dinneen on the mound, Boston had the best pitching in the league, helping it to a 77-60 record, six-and-a-half games out of first.

Collins’ Hall of Fame page says, “’Third base was put into baseball for (Jimmy) Collins,’ said fellow big leaguer Bill Coughlin, also a veteran of the hot corner.

“Collins was a star as baseball entered the 20th century, acclaimed by many as the ‘king of the third basemen.’ And while he was a good hitter, finishing with a .294 lifetime average, it was as a fielder he won the headlines.

“’Collins was a model for all third basemen, the king of trappers and footworkers,’ commented 1978 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Tim Murnane. ‘Collins was always graceful. Bill Bradley, another great third baseman, would get twice the applause on the same play Collins made easy.’”

strang

3B-Sammy Strang, Chicago White Sox/Chicago Orphans (NL), 25 Years Old

(AL Stats Only) .295, 3 HR, 46 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-67

Def. Games as 3B-137

Assists as 3B-334

Errors Committed as 3B-62

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Nicklin “Sammy” or “The Dixie Thrush” Strang, born Samuel Strang Nicklin, was born on December 16, 1876, 80 years before my sister, Rose, in Chattanooga, TN. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound third baseman started his career playing part-time at shortstop in 1896. He then didn’t play in the Majors until 1900, when he played for the Orphans, then finally became a full-time player for New York in 1901. This season, The Dixie Thrush switched teams again and for the White Sox, finished ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7), ninth in on-base percentage (.387), and fourth in stolen bases (38). Strang wasn’t released by the White Sox until after the American League season ended.

Chicago was managed by Clark Griffith, who guided the team to a 74-60 fourth place finish, down from first place the year before. It was actually a good job of managing because the White Sox finished in the bottom three in hitting and pitching.

SABR says of his season, “Hall of Famer George Davis, the Giants player-manager, jumped to the Chicago White Sox in the upstart American League for the 1902 season and persuaded White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey to sign Strang. Comiskey had his eye on Strang in 1899 when Strang played for Cedar Rapids and Comiskey owned the St. Paul Saints. Strang coached the Georgia Tech baseball team in March 1902 before joining the White Sox at spring training in April. He batted .295 in 1902 as the third baseman and leadoff hitter. He was second in the league in walks, third in runs, and fourth in stolen bases – fine numbers for a leadoff man. However, he led the league in strikeouts, and his 62 errors at third base established an AL single-season record that still stands. Comiskey laced into Strang after one of those errors cost the White Sox a late-season victory. The two men came to blows, and, according to Strang, the fight ‘ended in a draw.’ After the season ended, Strang was released. He played three games in October for the Orphans and then signed with the Brooklyn Superbas of the National League.”

davis7

SS-George Davis, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900 1901

.299, 3 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as SS-72

Fielding % as SS-.951 (3rd Time)

7th Time All-Star-Like so many other greats from the National League, Davis made the jump to the new American League, which continued to draw the superstars from the NL. It didn’t hinder the great shortstop’s play as he continued to play dominantly and looks to be headed soon for the One-a-Year Hall of Fame. This season, Davis finished eighth in WAR (5.7), third in WAR Position Players (5.7), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), third in Defensive WAR (2.0), and ninth in stolen bases (31). It was a great all-around season, but it was typical for the slick-fielding, underrated Davis.

There was still a lot of fighting going on between the two leagues. SABR mentions, “John McGraw took over as Giants manager midway through the 1902 season. After the campaign, McGraw, looking to fill the club’s gaping hole at shortstop, acquired Davis’s signature on a two-year contract to play for New York. The move threatened to destroy the new peace treaty which had been forged between the two leagues that winter. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey threatened legal action. Davis went to Ward who argued, rather disingenuously, considering that he had helped Davis jump his New York contract the previous year, that the reserve clause in Davis’s 1901 Giants contract constituted a legal hold on the ballplayer’s services for the 1902 season, thus overruling any claim the White Sox had on his services. Ward declared Davis was entitled to rejoin the Giants per the new contract. Comiskey counter-attacked by first securing an injunction from an Illinois court, which prevented Davis from playing baseball for any team other than the White Sox in that state. In July, Comiskey obtained another injunction, this one from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which prohibited Davis from playing for any team anywhere other than the White Sox. The National League owners, weary of the dispute, instructed Giants owner John Brush to give up his rights to Davis. In all, the shortstop played only four games for New York that year, and none for Chicago.” So Davis is going to lose a whole season while in his prime.

wallace4SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Browns, 28 Years Old

1898 1899 1901

.285, 1 HR, 63 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-2.7 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Before the season, Wallace became yet another player who switched leagues, jumping from the Cardinals to the Browns. He would now be out of the shadow of Honus Wagner and be able to garner fame on his own merits. This season, Wallace finished fourth in WAR Position Players (5.1) and first in Defensive WAR for the second consecutive year (2.7). By all accounts, he was a tremendous glove man and that led to his biggest accomplishment of 1902, making my Hall of Fame. Welcome to Carter Lake, Iowa’s prestigious group, Bobby!

SABR has a couple items on Wallace’s year: “On June 10, 1902, Wallace accepted 17 chances in a game against Boston, a mark which has stood as the American League record for more than 100 years.

“Even in the Deadball Era, however, baseball was a business as well as a game, and the National League’s salary cap of $2,400 limited what Senior Circuit teams could pay star players like Bobby. The new American League, however, had no such constraints and gave Bobby the chance to earn substantially more. He seized that opportunity by jumping to the cross-town St. Louis Browns of the Junior Circuit in 1902. His contract totaled $32,500 over five years, with $6,500 paid at signing, making Wallace for a time the highest paid player in baseball. Remarkably for contracts of that era, it also contained a clause providing that Wallace could not be traded without his consent. In another unusual move, the Browns also took out a life insurance policy on Wallace in case he met an untimely death before the contract’s expiration.”

delahanty9LF-Ed Delahanty, Washington Senators, 34 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1901

.376, 10 HR, 93 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1902 AL Batting Title (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-6.7 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.6 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.453 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.590 (5th Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.043 (5th Time)

Doubles-43 (5th Time)

Adjusted OPS+-186 (4th Time)

Runs Created-125 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-58 (6th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-5.8 (6th Time)

Offensive Win %-.855 (4th Time)

9th Time All-Star-In 1902, Big Ed Delahanty had his best year ever. You can see the stats above. He is also at this point in baseball history the greatest leftfielder ever. You can see the list in Cy Young’s write-up. He dominated his new home, the American League. He was an amazing ballplayer, one of the all-time great hitters, which makes his death in 1903 so tragic.

SABR has much on the incident which took the life of Big Ed. Here are some snippets: “Del accompanied the Senators to their next stop in Detroit, where his mother and two brothers were summoned to help straighten him out. He continued to drink heavily, however, and again abandoned the team on July 2. By this time he knew he would be unable to jump to the Giants, as a court order issued the previous day prohibited Davis from playing for New York. Delahanty nonetheless boarded a train to New York that afternoon but, perhaps tellingly, left his belongings in his Detroit hotel room. Del misbehaved on the train, smoking when he was not supposed to, drinking to excess, and accidentally breaking the glass in front of the emergency tool cabinet. Finally, he fell asleep. When the train made a scheduled stop in Bridgeburg, (now Fort Erie), Ontario, Del became disoriented and tried to enter an already occupied berth. The commotion seemed to confuse him more, and he had to be subdued by three men. The conductor, John Cole, had understandably had enough of him for the evening and ordered Del off the train.

“The train crossed the International Railway Bridge over the Niagara River into Buffalo.
In the darkness Big Ed walked out onto the 3,600 foot long bridge and was standing still at its edge, staring down into the water, when he was accosted by night watchman Sam Kingston, on the lookout for smugglers. A scuffle ensued, with Kingston dragging Delahanty back to the middle of the wide bridge, but Kingston then fell down and Delahanty got away. Moments later, according to Kingston — who claimed it was too dark to see what happened — Del either jumped or drunkenly stumbled off the edge of the bridge, falling 25 feet into the 40-foot-deep Niagara River.”  He was dead at the age of 35.

burkett7LF-Jesse Burkett, St. Louis Browns, 33 Years Old

1893 1895 1896 1899 1900 1901

.306, 5 HR, 52 RBI, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Times on Base-245

Errors Committed as OF-26

7th Time All-Star-After his phenomenal 1901 season in the National League, the American League snatched up Crab and he continued to play well. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.0), seventh in on-base percentage (.390), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (125). With Ed Delahanty’s death in 1903, Burkett had a chance to be the best leftfielder in the league, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Chances are, Crab has made his last All-Star team, but he finished with a great career.

SABR details the end of his career, stating, “Nearing the age of 33, Burkett decided in October 1901 to jump to the newly-arrived St. Louis Browns of the rival American League in 1902. While the change netted Burkett a heftier salary, it also hurt his batting, as his average slumped to .306, the last time he would bat better than .300 in the major leagues. Despite his lowered average, Burkett remained an effective hitter. In 1903, he batted .293 and ranked fourth in the league with 52 walks. When his average dipped further in 1904, the resourceful Burkett responded by placing second in the league with 78 free passes, and his .363 on base percentage was fifth best in the circuit. Along with his reputation as a great hitter, it was a performance good enough to allow the Browns to trade Burkett to the Boston Americans at the end of the season for George Stone, who would briefly emerge in 1906 as one of the game’s best hitters. Burkett, on the other hand, was nearly finished. Playing in 148 games for Boston in 1905, Jesse batted just .257. Combined with his ability to get on base, it was still an above-average offensive performance, but for Burkett it marked the end of his major league career.”

jonesf2

CF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 30 Years Old

1901

.321, 0 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Singles-150

Double Plays Turned as OF-11 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.58

2nd Time All-Star-Jones permanently made the move from rightfield to centerfield this season and still succeeded. I actually didn’t anticipate this season would be an All-Star season which increased his chance of making my Hall of Fame from 66 to 80 percent. It’s still not a sure thing, but it’s not bad, especially since he didn’t make his first All-Star team until he was 29. This season, Jones finished 10th in batting average (.321), sixth in on-base percentage (.390), and eighth in stolen bases (33). He did all of this in South Side Park, a pitchers’ delight. His problem wasn’t being able to hit for power, stroking just 21 extra base hits.

                According to SABR, it wasn’t easy to hit in baseball during this time. It says, “Baseball, however, was changing the rules to favor the pitchers. Batting averages were dropping from the high-scoring 1890s. The changes were decreasing the numbers of runners who reached base, increasing the value of a single run. The average team in 1896 scored six runs per game. In 1902 the AL averaged less than five runs a game and the NL dropped to an average just over four. With less offense, managers needed to adapt. Playing for one run at a time required different skills and strategy. The ability to bunt was becoming more valuable. Teams couldn’t afford to waste base runners.”

                That’s why you’re not seeing the high batting averages of old and definitely not seeing the big sluggers like Dan Brouthers and Roger Connor. There were a lot of good pitchers in both leagues.

seybold

RF-Socks Seybold, Philadelphia Athletics, 31 Years Old

.316, 16 HR, 97 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-16

AB per HR-32.6

1st Time All-Star-Ralph Orlando “Socks” Seybold was born on November 23, 1870 in Washingtonville, OH. The origin of the five-foot-11, 175 pound outfielder’s nickname is a mystery, but his best season ever isn’t. It was this one right here, which helped lead the Athletics to the league crown. Seybold finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.3), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.0), fifth in slugging (.506), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (139). He still has some good years coming, but most likely only one of them is All-Star worthy.

SABR says of his 1902 season, “Despite the loss of Lajoie, the Athletics won the 1902 pennant by five games, with Seybold keying an offensive attack that led the league in runs scored. For the second year in a row, Ralph hit over .300, finishing with a .316 batting average. His 97 RBI were the second highest on the team and his 16 home runs set the American League record that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919.”

For some reason, SABR and Baseball Reference have quite a discrepancy on Seybold’s weight. Baseball Reference has the 175 I listed above while SABR puts him at 200 pounds. That’s why SABR says, “’Socks was so big the fans never credited him with all the good points that he showed to me in his daily work,’ Mack said.” Of course, the problem with recording weight is that it fluctuates from year-to-year. When I was in high school I was barely 120 pounds and now I’m….much heavier than that.

freeman2

RF-Buck Freeman, Boston Americans, 30 Years Old

1901

.309, 11 HR, 121 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

Runs Batted In-121

Extra Base Hits-68

Def. Games as OF-138 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Freeman moved from first base to the outfield and would remain there the rest of his career, except for 1905 when we went back to first. The truth is he was a monster hitter, but a terrible fielder and Boston was looking for somewhere to put him. He was a born home run hitter in a non-home run era and a designated hitter, playing some 70 years too early. This season, Freeman finished sixth in slugging (.502) and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (132).

In Hall of Fame Debate, it says, “Buck didn’t jump very far.  He left the Beaneaters and joined the Red Sox.  He put that one off -year under Selee behind him and established himself as the American League’s first star power hitter.  In the AL’s first year of existence, Buck clubbed a dozen homeruns (2nd in the league) and drove home 114 runs.  The next three years Buck would see his name atop several important offensive statistical columns.  In 1902, he led the league with 121 RBI and finished as the runner-up in long balls again.  He boasted an uncommon offensive line, for the Deadball Era, with a .309 BA/.352 OBP/.502 SA with 38 doubles and 19 triples.  He was even more productive the following year.”

I think Freeman is going to make one more All-Star team. His problem is that he could hit for power and he could hit for average, but didn’t walk much and couldn’t field worth anything. He’ll be a big part of the first World Series winning team in 1903.

1902 National League All-Star Team

P-Jack Taylor, CHC

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Togie Pittinger, BSN

P-Doc White, PHI

P-Jack Chesbro, PIT

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Mike O’Neill, STL

P-Doc Newton, BRO

P-Joe McGinnity, NYG

C-Johnny Kling, CHC

C-Hughie Hearne, BRO

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

1B-Jake Beckley, CIN

2B-Claude Ritchey, PIT

3B-Tommy Leach, PIT

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

SS-Joe Tinker, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

LF-Jimmy Slagle, CHC

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

CF-Ginger Beaumont, PIT

RF-Sam Crawford, CIN

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO

 

taylorj

P-Jack Taylor, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

23-11, 1.29 ERA, 88 K, .233, 0 HR, 18 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1902 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR for Pitchers-9.3

Earned Run Average-1.29

Walks & Hits per IP-0.953

Shutouts-8

Adjusted ERA+-206

Adj. Pitching Runs-47

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.5

Assists as P-106

1st Time All-Star-John William “Jack” Taylor was born on December 13, 1873 in New Straitsville, OH. The five-foot-10, 170 pound righthander easily had his best season ever this year. He had started as a 24 year old for Chicago in 1898, when he went 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA and a 166 ERA+. He’d pitched for them ever since without a season with a winning record. It all came together this year when, along with leading in all of the categories above, Taylor finished third in hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.364), third in innings pitched (333 2/3), and third in batters faced (1,278). His 1.29 ERA was the lowest since Denny Driscoll’s 1.21 in 1882 for the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the lowest since the mounds were moved backed to 60 feet, six inches in 1893. He will be making a few more All-Star teams, but no year would come close to matching this one.

His great pitching didn’t do much to help the Orphans, as they finished in fifth place in the National League. Frank Selee, who won five pennants for the Beaneaters in the 1890s, took over the reins for Chicago and guided them to a 68-69 record. Because of Taylor, it had the best pitching in the league, but its hitting was among the worst.

How much of his great season had to do with chicanery? According to a book, What Makes an Elite Pitcher?: Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux by Warren N. Wilbert, “One game between the two [Taylor and Christy Mathewson] was tossed out altogether because the Giants had put the May 7, 1902 game under a protest that was upheld by the National League front office. The protest was registered because Giants hitters complained that the mound was too close to home plate. A measurement after the game proved them right. The mound was only 58’6” from home plate.”

hahn4

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 23 years Old

1899 1900 1901

23-12, 1.77 ERA, 142 K, .185, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as P-9

4th Time All-Star-Whenever I write about Hahn, the first thing that comes to mind is:

C’mon, you know you’re saying it! He is in the fourth year of a six-year stretch in which he displayed some of finest pitching in the land. This season, Hahn (Hahhhhnnn!) finished second in Wins Above Replacement (9.0), second in WAR for Pitchers (8.9), second in ERA (1.77), fourth in innings pitched (321), third in complete games (35), second in Adjusted ERA+ (169), second in Adj. Pitching Runs (39), and second in Adj. Pitching Wins (4.4). In a great career, this was Noodles’ best season ever.

Did it help my beloved Reds? A little. Managed by Bid McPhee (27-37), Frank Bancroft (9-7), and Joe Kelley (34-26), Cincinnati finished in fourth place with a 77-63 record, 33-and-a-half games behind Pittsburgh, which was a juggernaut this season. Hahn led the Reds’ good pitching and the team also had great hitting, led by rightfielder Sam Crawford.

Hahn’s an example to young people out there to plan ahead. SABR writes, “Although only 23 years old that fall, Hahn also demonstrated a surprising maturity by realizing he needed a fallback profession after his baseball career ended. In summarizing his thoughts, he later wrote that when ballplayers are finished as major leaguers many drift back to the minors, then into the saloon business, and then into oblivion; and that not two-dozen NL players were in a position to give up baseball at the end of their career. Determined not to follow that path, Hahn evaluated his alternatives. He thought there were enough doctors, lawyers, and dentists, ‘but ‘hoss doctors; why, they’re lined up along the boulevards waiting to give those boys money.’ He enrolled in the Cincinnati Veterinary College.”

willis3

P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

1899 1901

27-20, 2.20 ERA, 225 K, .153, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-51

Saves-3

Innings Pitched-410

Strikeouts-225

Games Started-46

Complete Games-45

Hits Allowed-372

Batters Faced-1,652

Def. Games as P-51

Putouts as P-37

3rd Time All-Star-Willis made his second consecutive All-Star team by being an ironman this season. His 410 innings pitched was the most since Frank Killen pitched 432 1/3 in 1896. It’s worth wondering if his next three seasons of under .500 pitching had to do with his arm being used to this extent this year. Along with all of the categories Willis led above, he finished third in WAR (8.1), third in WAR for Pitchers (8.4), 10th in ERA (2.20, this shows what a pitchers’ league it was this season), second in wins (27), second in home runs allowed (6), third in walks (101), second in losses (20), second in wild pitches (12), ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (128), third in Adj. Pitching Runs (29), third in Adj. Pitching Wins (3.2), and second in assists as pitcher (105). He’s well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

As for the Beaneaters, they moved from fifth to third under the guidance of Al Buckenberger. They finished 73-64, 29 games behind the unstoppable Pirates. This was Bucky’s first year coaching Boston.

SABR says, “In 1902 Willis responded sensationally to an incredible workload: he completed a league high 45 games, the modern (since 1901) NL record; hurled 410 innings, the second highest total in modern NL history; and led the league in strikeouts with 225. On May, 29 against New York Willis struck out a league high 13 Giants; that only 450 spectators saw this game highlights how far this franchise had fallen in the new century from its recent championship days. Additionally, Willis was used in several key relief situations, and he has been retroactively credited with a league high three saves.”

pittinger

P-Togie Pittinger, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old

27-16, 2.52 ERA, 129 K, .136, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-128

1st Time All-Star-Charles Reno “Togie” Pittinger was born on January 12, 1872 in Greencastle, PA. The righthanded wild tosser started his career in 1900 and would be with Boston through 1904. This was his best season ever as he finished sixth in WAR (6.5), fourth in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), second in wins (27), second in games pitched (46), second in innings pitched (389 1/3), third in strikeouts (174), second in games started (40), second in complete games (36), third in home runs allowed (4), second in hits allowed (360), second in earned runs allowed (109), third in batters hit by pitch (16), second in batters faced (1,611), second in defensive games as a pitcher (46), second in putouts as a pitcher (20), and third in assists as a pitcher (83). Those are the kinds of numbers compiled by hurlers tossing a boatload of innings.

SABR says Pittinger’s 1903 was almost as bad as his 1902 was good, stating, “But instead of another dominating season, Pittinger had one of the worst seasons recorded by a pitcher. In 1903 he led the National League in five negative pitching categories: losses (22), earned runs allowed (136), hits allowed (396), home runs allowed (12), and walks allowed (143). He was still a workhorse, pitching 351⅔ innings. With his large salary, his season didn’t endear him to Boston management.”

Surprisingly, in the long SABR article, there’s not one mention of why he’s called Togie and, indeed, SABR calls him Charlie throughout the write-up. He apparently wasn’t a good-looking man and did acquire the nicknames of Horse Face or Dog Face.

whited

P-Doc White, Philadelphia Phillies, 23 Years Old

16-20, 2.53 ERA, 185 K, .263, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.441

1st Time All-Star-Guy Harris “Doc” White was born on April 9, 1879 in Washington, DC. The six-foot-one, 150 pound lefty started with Philadelphia in 1901 and would be with them through this season before moving to the White Sox for the rest of his career. His career was decent though he never got any Hall of Fame interest. This season, White had his best season ever, finishing fifth in WAR (7.0), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.2), second in strikeouts (185), second in losses (20), third in FIP (2.42), and third in assists as a pitcher (83). He was a good athlete, being a good hitting pitcher in a time there weren’t many of those.

White wasn’t enough for the Phillies as they lost Ed Delahanty and fell from second to seventh. Manager Bill Shettsline led the team to a 56-81 record due to bad hitting and pitching.

Here’s some facts from his 1902 season, according to Baseball Reference, “In 1902, he went 16-20 for a poor Phillies team but finished second in the National League with 185 strikeouts. On July 21, he became the first pitcher since the mound was pushed back to 60′ 6″ to strike out four batters in one inning. During this time, he was completing his studies, and earned his dentistry degree in 1902, opening a practice in his hometown in the off-season. That earned him the nickname Doc, by which he is best known to this day.” We’ll read more of this man in years to come.

chesbro2

P-Jack Chesbro, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1901

28-6, 2.17 ERA, 136 K, .179, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Win-Loss %-.824

Shutouts-8 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-21

2nd Time All-Star-Chesbro made his second straight All-Star team and also won his second straight league championship. He was a great pitcher having a great stretch of seasons during this time. He’d be the first famous Yankee pitcher starting next year. As for this season, Happy Jack finished first in the categories above, eighth in WAR (5.4), and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5). He, of course, has an incredible season coming up in two seasons, but you’ll just have to wait like everybody else.

This was his last year with the Pirates because, according to Wikipedia, “At the end of the 1902 season, the upstart American League (AL) began to entice NL stars to join their league by offering competitive salaries. Chesbro agreed to sign with a new AL franchise, the New York Highlanders (presently known as the New York Yankees), for the 1903 season, for a $1,000 bonus ($27,681 in current dollar terms) to join the AL. The news broke when Jesse Tannehill, who also agreed to join the Highlanders, told Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss about the planned defection while under the influence of pain medication. When he refused to participate in a postseason series, Dreyfuss released Chesbro from the Pirates.”

According to Baseball Reference, Chesbro added a pitch to his repertoire this year: “He began throwing a spitball the next season (spitballs were legal until 1920) and went an astonishing 28-6 with a 2.17 ERA, leading the circuit in wins and shutouts.” It’s amazing spitballs were ever legal.

mathewson2

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 21 Years Old

1901

14-17, 2.12 ERA, 164 K, .200, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-8

Wild Pitches-17 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-If you look at Mathewson’s stats, this season looks out of place. From 1901-to-1914, it was the only time Big Train didn’t win at least 20 games and then only time during that stretch he pitched under .500. Yet he still led the league in shutouts, along with finishing seventh in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), eighth in ERA (2.12), second in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (5.185), ninth in innings pitched (284 2/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (131).

Mathewson’s off season was part of the reason the Giants finished last. They had three managers – Horace Fogel (18-23), Heinie Smith (5-27), and John McGraw (25-38). New York was the worst hitting team in the league and one of the worst pitching teams. What couldn’t have been realized is that McGraw would be there for the next 31 years and have great success with this team.

I never knew Mathewson played another sport, but, according to Wikipedia, “Mathewson played professional football as early as 1898, appearing as a fullback with the Greensburg Athletic Association. While a member of the New York Giants, Mathewson played fullback for the Pittsburgh Stars of the first National Football League. However, Mathewson disappeared from the team in the middle of the team’s 1902 season. Some historians speculate that the Giants got word that their star pitcher was risking his life and baseball career for the Stars and ordered him to stop, while others feel that the Stars’ coach, Willis Richardson, got rid of Mathewson because he felt that, since the fullback’s punting skills were hardly used, he could replace him with a local player, Shirley Ellis.”

oneillm

P-Mike O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

16-15, 2.90 ERA, 105 K, .319, 2 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Michael Joyce “Mike” O’Neill, also known as Michael Joyce in 1901, was born on September 7, 1877 in Maam, Ireland. This will most likely be his only All-Star season as he was the Cardinals’ best player. Not all of his value came from his arm, as he had a 2.4 Pitching WAR, but also his bat, where he added 1.7 WAR worth of value. He also finished second in saves (2), seventh in innings pitched (288 1/3), and third in errors committed as a pitcher (8).

The Cardinals, managed by Pasty Donovan, dropped from fourth to sixth with 56-78 record. If O’Neill’s your best pitcher, your team probably struggles from the mound and St. Louis did, having the worst ERA+ in the league.

His hitting brought O’Neill the fame, as this story from Wikipedia says, “O’Neill was a good-hitting pitcher who occasionally played in the left field. In 1901, he ended with a 2–2 record and a 1.32 earned run average, including a shutout, and hit .400 (6-for-15). His most productive season came in 1902, when he posted an 18–12 record with two shutouts, a 2.75 ERA, and two saves. On June 3, he was rested until being summoned as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. O’Neill responded by hitting the first pinch grand slam in major league history off Togie Pittinger of the Boston Beaneaters.[2][3] It was an inside-the-park home run as O’Neill became the first National League pitcher to hit a grand slam in the 20th century.”

newton

P-Doc Newton, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

15-14, 2.42 ERA, 107 K, .174, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits per 9 IP-7.082

1st Time All-Star-Eustace James “Doc” Newton was born on October 26, 1877 in Mount Carmel, IN. The six-foot, 185 pound lefty started with Cincinnati in 1900-01, before being picked up by Brooklyn as a free agent on July 16, 1901. This was his best season ever as he finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (4.0) and second in saves (2). He would finished his career pitching five seasons with the Highlanders (eventually the Yankees) from 1905-to-1909.

Brooklyn, still managed by Ned Hanlon, moved from third to second this season, though they were still way behind the first place Pirates. They finished 75-63 and were led by powerful hitting while having only middle-of-the-road pitching. The Superbas have four position players on the All-Star team, with the best being shortstop Bill Dahlen.

Wikipedia says, “A former Dentist, he finished with a 54–72 win-loss record, a 3.22 Earned Run Average, and 99 complete games. He had his best season in 1902 for Brooklyn, when he went 15-14 with a 2.42 ERA. From an article in the Sporting Life magazine from April 1907, he played college baseball for Morris Hall University, while others claim Morris Halo, or Morris Hale. The most likely match is Moores Hill College, a school that closed in 1915.

“On October 4, 1904, the New York Highlanders selected Newton the Rule 5 draft, and he pitched well, just not well enough to win games on a regular basis, his ERAs were low during his time in New York, 2.96, but his win-loss records didn’t match it, 20-25. His manager in New York, Clark Griffith, claimed that Newton’s failure to stay in condition cost the Highlanders the 1906 pennant; Newton had been suspended mid-season for dissipation.”

Teams Baltimore Orioles 1899 47-50_PD Betz leftP-Joe McGinnity, New York Giants, 31 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

8-8, 2.06 ERA, 67 K, .121, 0 HR, 3 RBI (NL Stats Only)

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

4th Time All-Star-Iron Man is going to do something rarely done, make two All-Star teams in one season. This write-up will focus on his National League season. He started the season with Baltimore and then was released by them and signed by the Giants. He and John McGraw, New York’s skipper, are going to make a fine team for years to come. McGinnity finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (3.6), sixth in ERA (2.06), third in WHIP (1.007), second in hits allowed per nine innings (7.177), and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (136).

The AL Orioles were already falling apart and would be replaced in 1902 by New York. This led to McGinnity leaving, as Wikipedia explains, “McGinnity began the 1902 season with the Orioles. However, the franchise began to fall into significant debt. Joe Kelley, star player for the Orioles and son-in-law of part-owner John Mahon, reported that the team owed as much as $12,000 ($332,169 in current dollar terms). Unable to afford that debt, Mahon purchased shares of the team from Kelley and player-manager John McGraw, who had resigned from the team and signed with the New York Giants of the NL. With this, Mahon became the majority shareholder. On July 17, 1902, Mahon sold his interest in the Orioles to Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the Giants, and John T. Brush, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, also of the NL. That day, Freedman and Brush released McGinnity, McGraw, Kelley, Roger Bresnahan, Jack Cronin, Cy Seymour, and Dan McGann from their Oriole contracts.”

kling

C-Johnny Kling, Chicago Orphans, 26 Years Old

.289, 0 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-113

Putouts as C-477

Assists as C-160

Double Plays Turned as C-17

Passed Balls-18

Caught Stealing as C-113

1st Time All-Star-John “Johnny” or “Noisy” Kling was born on my anniversary date of November 13, 1875 in Kansas City, MO. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righthander started with Chicago in 1900 and would remain with them until 1911. His stats don’t jump out at you, but for a catcher, he was one of the best around for his time. This season, along with finishing first in all of the above stats, Kling finished eighth in Defensive WAR (1.0), second in stolen bases allowed as a catcher (123), and third in fielding percentage as a catcher (.974). He would do decently offensively over the years, but his defense was stellar and got him a lot of Hall of Fame interest over the years.

As for his nickname “Noisy,” Wikipedia states, “He also acquired the nickname ‘Noisy John’, because he kept up a constant chatter on the field; some baseball historians have noted this was part of his skill in waging ‘psychological warfare’ on his opponents.”

And Noisy John loved another pastime: “But while he loved baseball, Kling never lost his devotion to the game of pool. In 1902, for example, one reporter called him the best pool player of any active baseball player. He often played for purses as high as $300, a sizable amount in that era. During this time, he also ran his own billiard room in his native Kansas City. During the early 1900s, his pool-playing career was regarded positively by sports reporters—in one article, he was praised as a baseball player who was not idle during the off-season; he was said to have ‘double[d] his diamond income’ by being an accomplished pool player.”

hearne

C-Hughie Hearne, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

.281, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 157 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Hugh Joseph “Hughie” Hearne was born on April 18, 1873 in Troy, NY. The five-foot-eight, 182 pound rightie started by playing two games for Brooklyn in 1901 and then played for three seasons. This was his best season despite playing on 66 games. There weren’t a lot of great catcher in the National League at this time or Hearne would have never made the list. Hearne slashed .281/.336/.325 for an OPS+ of 104, which isn’t bad for a catcher. He would play one more season for the Superbas and never play another Major League game.

Here’s some tidbits from Wikipedia: “Hearne made his major league debut on August 29 and spent the next two years with Brooklyn as a part-time catcher. In 1902, he played in a career-high 66 MLB games and batted .281. In 1903, while batting .281 again, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern League. He played his last major league game on July 2.

“Hearne spent 1903 to 1909 with Baltimore. In 1905, he hit .302, the only season other than 1901 in which he would top the .300 mark. In 1907, he was reported to be wearing shin guards similar to those that had been worn by Roger Bresnahan before. This piece of equipment was rarely used in baseball at the time.

“After batting .250 in 1909, Hearne was sold to the Newark Indians for US$500. He played in a career-high 94 minor league games in 1910 before retiring from professional baseball.”

tenney2

1B-Fred Tenney, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old

1899

.315, 2 HR, 30 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Sacrifice Hits-29

Def. Games as 1B-134 (2nd Time)

Assists as 1B-105 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.985

2nd Time All-Star-It’s been three years since Tenney made the All-Star team, but he’s back with his best season ever. He finished 10th in WAR (5.1), fourth in WAR Position Players (5.1), sixth in Offensive WAR (4.5), ninth in batting average (.315), second in on-base percentage (.409), third in bases on balls (73), fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (142), second in putouts (1,251), second in putouts as a first baseman (1,251), third in errors committed as a first baseman (21), second in double plays turned as a first baseman (75), and third in range factor per game as a first baseman (10.12), along with leading all of the categories mentioned above.

Wikipedia mentions like many during this time, he was a brawler, stating, “He was suspended for ten games for fighting Pittsburg Pirates manager Fred Clarke in May 1902, and finished the 1902 season with the second most sacrifice hits (29) in the majors, to go along with a .315 average.[10][18] Throughout the 1901–1902 seasons, Tenney received contract offers worth up to $7,000 ($193,172.00 in 2012) from St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit; Tenney, however, decided to remain in Boston, and was named captain of the club in 1903.” They must have lightened the suspension because Tenney played 134 of Boston’s 142 games.

More on that brawl from SABR: “Speculation that he would jump became rampant after he got into a brawl with Pittsburgh Pirates player-manager Fred Clarke on May 15, 1902-‘Clarke called me names, then I twisted his nose, and he kicked me in the stomach,’ Tenney claimed-prompting a fine and a 10-game suspension.”

beckley8

1B-Jake Beckley, Cincinnati Reds, 34 Years Old, 1902 ONEHOF Inductee

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894 1900 1901

.330, 5 HR, 69 RBI, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Putouts-1,269 (5th Time)

Putouts as 1B-1,262 (5th Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-23 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-84 (2nd Time)

8th Time All-Star-When I first started writing about Beckley during the 1889 season, I questioned his Hall of Fame creds and yet here he is making the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame of my creation which inducts one player every year who is the best player not already in the ONEHOF. Beckley consistently hit from a hitters’ era in the 1890s to the Deadball era of the 1900s. He always flashed good leather and was always among the best at his position in the league. So welcome to ONEHOF, Eagle Eye.

The nominees for next year’s ONEHOF are King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Clark Griffith, Jesse Burkett, and George Davis.

Along with the categories in which he led, Eagle Eye finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.1), seventh in Offensive WAR (4.1), fifth in batting average (.330), eighth in on-base percentage (.377), fourth in slugging (.427), third in total bases (227), second in homers (5), sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (140), second in power-speed number (7.5), second in at-bats-per-home run (106.2), second in defensive games as a first baseman (129), second in assists as a first baseman (64), second in range factor per nine innings as a first baseman (10.61), second in range factor per game as a first baseman (10.28), and third in fielding percentage as a first baseman (.983).

ritchey

2B-Claude Ritchey, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

.277, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Fielding % as 2B-.966

1st Time All-Star-Claude Cassius “Little All Right” Ritchey was born on October 5, 1873 in Emlenton, PA. The five-foot-six, 167 pound scrapper was part of a slew of position player All-Stars on the Pirates and now won his second league crown. Along with fielding, Ritchey finished ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0) and ninth in on-base percentage (.370). He’d always been a decent player but this was the first year he shined.

From a website called Baseball History Comes Alive, there is a story of Ritchey, along with many others, reaching Pittsburgh and making them into a dynasty. It says, “Awhile back I started a series on lopsided trades. Some of you may remember a couple of the more notorious ones I featured: the Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trade that causes heart-burn to Cub fans even to this day; and the Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas fiasco from which many Reds fans are likewise are still hurting.

“Here’s what the Pirates got in this one-sided deal: Honus Wagner, possibly the greatest shortstop and all-around player ever; Hall-of Fame pitcher Rube Waddell; Hall-of-Fame outfielder and future manager Fred Clarke; future ace pitcher Deacon Phillippe who in 12 years with the Pirates went 168-92 (.646); plus star infielders Claude Richey and Tommy Leach; and steady catcher Chief Zimmer. Not a bad haul for the Pirates!

“This trade turned a good Pirates team into a powerhouse which won pennants in 1901, ‘02 and ’03, and appeared in the first World Series in 1903. The 1902 Pirates were one of the greatest teams of all-time.  They outscored the next-best team by 142 runs and led the National League in hits, doubles, triples, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging average, and tied for the league lead in stolen bases.”

leach

3B-Tommy Leach, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

.278, 6 HR, 85 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.8

Triples-22

Home Runs-6

Power-Speed #-9.7

AB per HR-85.7

Assists as 3B-316

1st Time All-Star-Thomas William “Tommy” Leach was born on November 4, 1877 in French Creek, NY. The five-foot-six, 150 pound righty started with Louisville in 1898-99, before being traded to Pittsburgh. He obviously had some pop, leading the league in homers and triples, and now had two league titles to his name. This was his best season ever. Along with the categories in which he led above, Leach finished seventh in WAR (6.0), second in WAR Position Players (6.0), fourth in Offensive WAR (4.6), fifth in slugging (.426), second in runs batted in (85), seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (134), second in defensive games as a third baseman (134), second in range factor per nine innings as a third baseman (3.71), second in range factor per game as a third baseman (3.63), and third in fielding percentage as a third baseman (.926). He’ll be on this list a few more times.

Wikipedia says, “Leach was well known for his small stature and was nicknamed ‘Wee Tommy’. In 1902, while with the Pirates, he led the National League in home runs with a total of six. Each one was of the inside-the-park variety, which was not unusual in the ‘dead-ball era’. 49 of Tommy Leach’s 63 career home runs were inside-the-park, which is still a National League record.”

He was a neighbor of a great player, according to SABR, which states, “The Leaches were neighbors of the Delahantys, a family that produced five major leaguers. Enthusiastic about the tremendous success of Ed Delahanty, Tommie’s father encouraged Tommie by saying, ‘If Ed can do it, so can you.’”

wagner4

SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1899 1900 1901

.330, 3 HR, 91 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.3 (2nd Time)

Offensive WAR-6.2 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.463 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-.857 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-105

Doubles-30 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-91 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-42 (2nd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-162 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-39

Adj. Batting Wins-4.4

Extra Base Hits-49 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-14

4th Time All-Star-You’re reading this and, with your vast baseball knowledge, you know Wagner played over 200 more innings in the outfield than he did at shortstop and wondering how he’s ending up at that position on my All-Star team. To that I say, write your own page! In truth, I just put him there because I didn’t know what position to put him in the outfield, because he split them fairly evenly. He played more games at shortstop than he did at any one position in the outfield, so he’s my guy!

There’s no need to break down Wagner’s season, because you can see it above. He also won his second straight championship and has better seasons to come.

I love the description given by SABR of Wagner in the field: “Wagner was a sight in the field as well. His huge hands made it difficult to tell whether he was wearing a glove. The glove that seemed too small for his hand was made even smaller by cutting a hole in the palm and pulling out much of the stuffing. Doing so, he thought, gave him better feel and hand mobility, reasonable given the pancake-shaped glove he used. Quick of foot and reflex, he covered the left side of the infield, knocking down balls (making errors on balls that other shortstops wouldn’t have reached) as necessary and throwing out runners with his powerful arm. He would irritate Clarke by taking his time making the throw on close plays at first. Wagner told Clarke he’d change when he quit throwing runners out. His one weakness in the field stemmed from his oversized feet, which sometimes got in the way. At bat, on the bases, and in the field, Wagner wasn’t pretty, just effective.”

dahlen6

SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 33 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899 1900

.264, 2 HR, 74 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-138

6th Time All-Star-Before Bill James started writing his yearly Baseball Abstracts, baseball was a much simpler game to understand. It only had three stats for hitters – batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Those are the stats I grew up with and that’s why I use them in the player synopsis at the top. It’s a reminder to me and all of my readers that when the early Hall of Fame voters cast their ballots, those were the main categories at which they looked. So here’s what they had for Bill Dahlen for his career – a .272 batting average, 84 home runs, and 1,234 runs batted in. They didn’t have much use for defensive stats except for fielding percentage, a category in which Dahlen finished first once, though in the top three eight times.

Nowadays, we look at Dahlen’s complete repertoire and realize the reason his offensive stats are so low is because of the era in which he played and his defense, as best as can be judged was outstanding. His career WAR is 75.2, which should be enough to put him in the Hall, but who thinks of players like Dahlen anymore. He played in an integrated league, with middling-to-good counting stats, and, on top of all that, he had a reputation for laziness, rowdiness, and drunkenness.

                This season, Dahlen finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.3), eighth in Offensive WAR (3.8), and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.4). He also finished in the top three in many defensive stats. This was a typical year for Bad Bill Dahlen, but he’ll have to settle for Ron’s Hall of Fame and possibly the ONEHOF down the road.

tinker

SS-Joe Tinker, Chicago Orphans, 21 Years Old

.263, 2 HR, 55 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as SS-461

Errors Committed as SS-72

Double Plays Turned as SS-49

1st Time All-Star-Joseph Bert “Joe” Tinker was born on July 27, 1880 in Muscotah, KS and would die exactly 68 years later in Orlando, FL. Between that time, the five-foot-nine, 175 pound shortstop played a Hall of Fame career which would be lauded in prose and poem, including the famous, “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance.” He had a great rookie year, making the All-Star team, mainly due to his glove. Tinker finished second in Defensive WAR (1.7), second in strikeouts (61), and in the top three in numerous defensive categories. He would be an acceptable hitter, but his fame came from his fielding.

Wikipedia says, “When he purchased Tinker’s contract, Cubs manager Frank Selee was seeking a replacement at shortstop for Barry McCormick, who had joined the St. Louis Browns of the rival American League. Tinker won the job during spring training. As a rookie in 1902, Tinker batted .261, but also led NL shortstops with 72 errors. Johnny Evers, also a rookie, played second base for the Cubs. With Frank Chance, the team’s first baseman, the trio first played together on September 13, 1902, and collaborated on their first double play on September 15.”

Here’s the famous stanza, written from the point of view of a Giants fan while watching his hopes erased by a double play:

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker and Evers and Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double  –

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

clarke4LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 29 Years Old

1895 1897 1901

.316, 2 HR, 53 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-14

4th Time All-Star-In the early 1900s, Pittsburgh dominated the National League, as they won their second of third consecutive league crowns this season. The leader of this talented group was a 20-something named Fred Clarke, who managed an excellent game, not to mention having the benefit of a talented crew. Pittsburgh won this season by 27-and-a-half games over Brooklyn and it was never close. The team finished with a 103-36 record, a .741 percentage.

Clarke certainly helped himself with his play in the field, finishing fifth in WAR Position Players (5.0), fifth in Offensive WAR (4.6), sixth in batting average (.316), fourth in on-base percentage (.401), third in slugging (.449), second in on-base plus slugging (.850), second in runs scored (103), second in doubles (27), eighth in stolen bases (29), second in Adjusted OPS+ (159), second in Adjusted Batting Runs (35), second in Adjusted Batting Wins (3.9), and second in extra base hits (43). In most of these categories, he was behind teammate Honus Wagner.

There is an intriguing article at the National Pastime Museum, about the Pirates’ 103rd win. It set a record at the time for wins in a season, but the team they were playing, my beloved Reds, made a mockery of the game, starting Jake Beckley, their first baseman, at pitcher, along with many other shenanigans. Here’s just a little of what they did: “The Pittsburgh Press summed up the affair by claiming it was the ‘first time in years . . . one of the teams deliberately faked,’ compared it to ‘American League methods,’ and that the Reds acted ‘more like monkeys than men.’ When Kelley stepped to the plate in the first inning he was smoking a cigarette, which drew a threat from O’Day that if the ‘pipe’ wasn’t extinguished, the Reds manager would be tossed from the game. Kelley, Donlin, and Seymour also smoked in the field, but none were ejected from the contest.” Read the whole thing.

slagle

LF-Jimmy Slagle, Chicago Orphans, 28 Years Old

.315, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.43 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-James Franklin “Jimmy” or “Rabbit” or “Shorty” Slagle was born on July 11, 1873 in Worthville, PA. The five-foot-seven, 144 pound lefthanded batter started in 1899 with the Washington Senators. He then played for Philadelphia in 1900-01, before finishing off 1901 with the Beaneaters, who released him towards the end of the season. Picked up by the Orphans before this year, Slagle had his best season ever, finishing seventh in WAR Position Players (4.4), seventh in batting average (.315), seventh in on-base percentage (.386), second in steals (41), and  eighth in Adjusted OPS+ (133). He would finish his career with Chicago, playing through 1908, which I understand to be a famous year in Cubs history.

You might know there weren’t official nicknames for clubs in the early days of baseball and, according to Chicago Cubs Online, 1902 was the first time Cubs was used for the Chicago National League entry. It says, “On March 27, 1902, the Chicago Daily News used the name ‘Cubs’ for the first time in print. The nickname was coined when Frank Selee (1902-1905) became the new manager of the Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc. The nickname ‘Cubs’ was derived from the new manager rebuilding the team with young, unproven players to replace the veterans that had jumped leagues to play in the American League for higher pay.

“Due to new owner Jim Hart signing so many young players the club had taken on the name ‘Chicago Spuds,’ a name given by the Chicago Tribune that did not appeal to the fans and when Frank Selee started to build what would be the nucleus of a championship team, many felt a more appropriate nickname was needed.”

sheckard2

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Baltimore Orioles (AL)/Brooklyn Superbas (NL), 23 Years Old

1901

.265, 4 HR, 37 RBI (NL Only)

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as OF-284

2nd Time All-Star-Sheckard started this season in the American League, toiling with the Baltimore Orioles. However, after playing four games for them, he jumped back to the Superbas on April 27. Though he only hit four home runs, he ranked fourth in the league. He also finished third in Power-Speed # (6.8) and second in range factor per game as an outfielder (2.41). Now that’s he back with Brooklyn, he’ll remain with them through 1905.

Baseball Reference says, “Bill James has pointed out that Sheckard was a very talented player who at different times in his career did many impressive things. However, he could not consistently put those talents together for a whole career. Early in his career he led the league in stolen bases (in 1899 and 1903), once he was in the top 5 in batting average (in 1901), once he led the league in triples (in 1901), once he led the league in home runs (in 1903), whereas in the middle of his career he twice led the league in sacrifice hits (1906 and 1909), and late in his career he led the league in walks twice (1911 and 1912), and in runs scored (in 1911).”

Sheckard doesn’t have much of a chance of making my Hall of Fame, but he certainly garnered some Cooperstown interest in his day. He received votes three times – in 1938, 1945, and 1946. He would probably be regarded higher nowadays thanks to his walking ability and high on-base percentage. He also would have been a bigger home run hitter in any other era.

beaumont

CF-Ginger Beaumont, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 Years Old

.357, 0 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

1902 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.357

Hits-193

Singles-166

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Howeth “Ginger” Beaumont was born on July 23, 1876 in Rochester, WI. He started with Pittsburgh in 1899 and would be a vital cog in Pittsburgh’s league championship stretch from 1901-through-1903. This season was his best season ever as, along with the categories in which he led above, Beaumont finished ninth in WAR (5.1), third in WAR Position Players (5.1), second in Offensive WAR (4.9), third in on-base percentage (.404), sixth in slugging (.418), third in runs scored (100), fourth in stolen bases (33), fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151), third in runs created (90), second in times on base (236), third in Offensive Win percentage (.767), and second in fielding percentage as an outfielder (.975).

SABR says of the red-headed centerfielder, “When contemporary observers spoke of Beaumont, they tended to focus on his surprising speed (he was once clocked from home to first in 4.4 seconds)–surprising because his typical playing weight was 190 lbs. on a 5’8″ frame. ‘He was an excellent base runner, being very fast on his feet, but nobody who saw him for the first time ambling along on his way to the batter’s box would admit this,’ wrote sportswriter John Gruber. ‘A lazier or more indifferent-appearing player, emphasized by a burly body, could not be conceived. But when he hit the ball he was off like a streak, which astonished the uninitiated and made him one of the wonders of the century.’” I never knew the nickname “Ginger” for redheads started so far back.<

crawford2

RF-Sam Crawford, Cincinnati Reds, 22 Years Old

1901

.333, 3 HR, 78 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Total Bases-256

Triples-22

Runs Created-99

Offensive Win %-.786

2nd Time All-Star-Wahoo Sam could’ve been the greatest Red of all time if he had stayed with Cincinnati, but after this season, he’s going to Detroit and for many years, he’s going to combine with the great Ty Cobb as the greatest duo of their time. I would have very much liked watching the speedy, powerful Crawford play. This season, along with the categories above in which he led, he finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.9), second in Offensive WAR (4.7), second in batting (.333), sixth in on-base percentage (.386), second in slugging (.461), third in OPS (.848), second in games (140), third in hits (185), third in RBI (78), third in OPS+ (153), third in Adjusted Batting Runs (33), third in Adjusted Batting Wins (3.7), second in extra base hits (43), third in times on base (233), second in defensive games as an outfielder (140), and second in assists as an outfielder (24). What’s incredible about Crawford is that this wasn’t an atypical season, but very much fits in with his career. Cobb said, “With the rabbit ball they’re playing with today, he’d have been one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.”

From Coffeyville Whirlwind quotes Crawford, who says, “’My idea of batting is a thing that should be done unconsciously,’ he once explained. ‘If you get to studying it too much, to see just what fraction of a second you must swing to meet a curved ball, the chances are you will miss it altogether.’”

keeler5

RF-Willie Keeler, Brooklyn Superbas, 30 Years Old

1895 1897 1899 1900

.333, 0 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

AB per SO-43.0 (6th Time)

Fielding % as OF-.978 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Even in an era in which ballplayers weren’t the behemoths of today, Keeler was still a small man at five-foot-four. I imagine watching him back then would have been like watching Jose Altuve nowadays and that’s a joy. (Well, it would be a joy if I wasn’t an Angels fan and he wasn’t killing them every time he faced them.) After this season, like so many others, he’s going to defect leagues, which will eventually lead to the World Series. Wee Willie probably has one more All-Star season left, which will put him in Ron’s Hall of Fame.

I feel over the stretch of baseball history, singles hitters were overrated. But if you hit as many singles as Keeler, you certainly have worth in the sport. Oh, and Keeler in 1902 struck out 13 times, which was his career high, a total he’d match in 1905. Only six times in his career did he even strikeout in double digits. We have players nowadays who strikeout more times in a week than Keeler typically did in a season.

Wikipedia says, “In 1901 when Ban Johnson formed the American League, one of the first acts was to raid the National League and offer their stars big contracts. In 1901, Keeler received offers from six of the eight new American League clubs, including an offer from Chicago for two years at $4,300 a season ($123,788 in current dollar terms). Keeler remained in Brooklyn and did not actually jump to the new league until 1903, when he signed with the New York Highlanders (later renamed the Yankees in 1913).”

1901 American League All-Star Team

P-Cy Young, BOS

P-Clark Griffith, CHW

P-Joe McGinnity, BLA

P-Roscoe Miller, DET

P-Eddie Plank, PHA

P-Earl Moore, CLE

P-Jimmy Callahan, CHW

P-Ed Siever, DET

P-Harry Howell, BLA

P-Bill Carrick, WSH

C-Boileryard Clarke, WSH

C-Bob Wood, CLE

1B-Buck Freeman, BOS

1B-John Anderson, MLA

2B-Nap Lajoie, PHA

2B-Jimmy Williams, BLA

3B-Jimmy Collins, BOS

3B-Fred Hartman, CHW

3B-John McGraw, BLA

SS-Freddy Parent, BOS

SS-Kid Elberfeld, DET

LF-Mike Donlin, BLA

CF-Chick Stahl, BOS

CF-Dummy Hoy, CHW

RF-Fielder Jones, CHW

 

young11

P-Cy Young, Boston Americans, 34 Years Old

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900

33-10, 1.62 ERA, 158 K, .209, 0 HR, 17 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1901 AL Pitching Triple Crown

1901 AL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-12.6 (5th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-12.6 (5th Time)

Earned Run Average-1.62 (2nd Time)

Wins-33 (3rd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-0.972 (4th Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.853

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.897 (10th Time)

Strikeouts-158 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-5 (5th Time)

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-4.270 (7th Time)

Adjusted ERA+-219 (2nd Time)

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.64 (5th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-78 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-7.8 (4th Time)

11th Time All-Star-The American League debuted this season and pilfered stars Cy Young and Nap Lajoie from the National League, among others. It started as the Northwestern League and eventually just the Western League. According to Wikipedia, “Along with Ban Johnson, Charles Comiskey purchased the Western League in 1892.

“Johnson hoped to clean up the sport of baseball by purchasing the league, including allowing umpires to suspend players who used profanity and disputed calls. Johnson hoped to use his league as an example of a well-run league that was organized, profitable, entertaining and appealing…The first signs that the Western League could become a major league appeared when the league began to attract many high caliber players and managers, and attendance ratings continued to climb.”

It became the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs before the 1900 season. Wikipedia continues, “At the time of the name change, the National League was struggling in attendance, while in comparison, the American League had a zero tolerance for foul language and behavior, bolstering attendance because of its image.”

This season it was finally considered a Major League and, again according to Wikipedia, “The AL lured many stars of the time due to the fact that they didn’t have a maximum salary, unlike the National League. Notably, Nap Lajoie was signed by Connie Mack to a $6,000 contract ($3,600 over the National League’s maximum salary), $173 thousand in today’s standards. Over the early years of the American League, they drew far more attendance to their games than the National League.”

And of course the league drew Cy Young. There’s no need to tell you about his season. Look at those stats above.

griffith7

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago White Sox, 31 Years Old

1894 1895 1897 1898 1899 1900

24-7, 2.67 ERA, 67 K, .303, 2 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No as player, yes as pioneer/executive

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Win-Loss %-.774

Shutouts-5 (2nd Time)

7th Time All-Star-As mentioned in Griffith’s 1900 blurb, he was one of the main orchestrators of luring National League players to this newly formed league. After pitching for the NL Chicago squad for eight years, he jumped to the American League version in the Windy City. He didn’t slow down a bit, finishing third in WAR (7.2), behind Boston pitcher Cy Young (12.6) and Philadelphia second baseman Nap Lajoie (8.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (5.7); fourth in ERA (2.67); and fourth in Adjusted ERA+ (131). There’s a good chance this is his last All-Star team.

As if that wasn’t enough, The Old Fox, led the White Sox to the first AL title, guiding the team to a 83-53 record, four games ahead of Boston. Led by a consistent lineup, they were the league’s second best hitting team, while Griffith himself helped Chicago be the second best pitching team. For this first year in this new league, the White Sox had the whole package.

Griffith’s Hall of Fame page certainly shows the respect he had from players in his time, saying, “’I will hand it unreservedly to [Christy] Mathewson as one of the greatest pitchers who ever lived,’ White Sox pitcher Jimmy Callahan later said. ‘But I think that old Clark Griffith, in his prime, was cagier; a more crafty, if not a more brainy, proposition.’”

Something needs to be pointed out here. The American League had many good players, but it wasn’t as deep as the National League at this time. That’s why good players from the National League – like Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, and Griffith – ended up having phenomenal seasons in the first year of the AL.

mcginnity3

P-Joe McGinnity, Baltimore Orioles, 30 Years Old

1899 1900

26-20, 3.56 ERA, 75 K, .209, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Games Pitched-48

Innings Pitched-382 (2nd Time)

Games Started-43

Complete Games-39

Hits Allowed-412

Earned Runs Allowed-151

Batters Faced-1,631

Def. Games as P-48

3rd Time All-Star-Iron Man moved from Brooklyn of the National League to the American League Baltimore Orioles, but still did McGinnity things, tossing lots of innings and completing almost every game. He tied for third in WAR with Chicago pitcher Clark Griffith (7.2), behind Boston pitcher Cy Young (12.6) and Philadelphia second baseman Nap Lajoie (8.4); second in WAR for Pitchers (7.6), trailing Young (12.6); and led in innings pitched (382). At 30-years-old, McGinnity is going to start falling off a little, but not enough to hurt his Hall of Fame chances.

Wikipedia says of McGinnity’s first AL season: “With the formation of the American League (AL) as a competitor to the NL, and rumors that the AL’s Detroit Tigers were interested in McGinnity, Brooklyn offered McGinnity a $5,000 contract ($138,404 in current dollar terms) to stay with Brooklyn. McGinnity considered retiring from baseball, but ultimately jumped to the AL, signing with the Baltimore Orioles of the AL before the 1901 season. He received a salary of $2,800 ($77,506 in current dollar terms), choosing less money in an upstart league for the chance to be reunited with McGraw, who was player-manager and part-owner of the Orioles.

“Fighting continued to erupt in games McGraw managed. During a brawl that erupted during a game against the Detroit Tigers on August 21, 1901, McGinnity spat on umpire Tom Connolly. McGinnity was arrested for the incident and permanently suspended by AL president Ban Johnson, who wanted there to be no fighting in AL games. Johnson later cut the suspension down to 12 days after McGinnity apologized.”

millerr

P-Roscoe Miller, Detroit Tigers, 24 Years Old

23-13, 2.95 ERA, 79 K, .208, 0 HR, 14 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.027

Assists as P-112

1st Time All-Star-Roscoe Clyde “Roxy” or “Rubberlegs” Miller was born on December 2, 1876 in Greenville, IN. Unlike the previous three pitchers on this list, who all had great success in the National League, Miller’s first Major League season was this one in the American League. It would also be his last success. This season, Roxy finished fifth in WAR (7.0); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), behind Boston’s Cy Young and Baltimore’s Joe McGinnity; third in innings pitched (332), trailing McGinnity (382) and Young (371 1/3); eighth in ERA (2.95); and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (130).

As for the Tigers’ first year, George Stallings led them to a third place 74-61 record, 13 games out of first. They finished third in ERA+, led by the great rookie season of Rubberlegs Miller.

So you and I are thinking, here’s a 24-year-old who had an impressive rookie year, he’s only got greatness ahead. You and I would be wrong. After this 23-13 season, Miller pitched three more seasons with a combined record of 16-32 and an 84 ERA+. He finished his career pitching for Detroit (1902), the Giants (1902-03), and Pittsburgh (1904).

It was possibly an injury which ended his Major League hopes. Wikipedia says, “In 1904, Miller sprained his wrist in a carriage accident. Miller was riding with 14 Pittsburgh Pirates players when the rear wheel suddenly collapsed. Several players, including Miller and Kitty Bransfield, were injured when the frightened horses bolted and dragged the carriage on its side. (Arthur Hittner, ‘Honus Wagner: The

Life of Baseball’s Flying Dutchman’ (1996), p. 137.”

plank

P-Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics, 25 Years Old

17-13, 3.31 ERA, 90 K, .182, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-13

1st Time All-Star-Edward Stewart “Gettysburg Eddie” Plank was born on August 31, 1875 in Gettysburg, PA, just 12 years after a famous battle was fought there. When you’re born in a town that famous, of course it becomes your nickname. Plank started his dazzling Major League career in the same year as the American League started its long run. He finished eighth in WAR (5.1), fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.3), 10th in ERA (3.31), and 10th in Adjusted ERA+ (114). Plank’s got many better seasons ahead.

The start of the AL also started one of the most incredible streaks of all-time as Connie Mack managed the A’s for the first of 50 consecutive years he would do so. They finished fourth with a 74-62 record, nine games out of first. With Plank they had decent pitching and with Nap Lajoie, they had good hitting, but they didn’t have enough of either to put them over the top.

Wikipedia says of his debut season, “Plank signed with the Richmond Colts of the Virginia League, a minor league. The league folded before Plank could pitch for the Colts. Foreman recommended Plank to Connie Mack, the manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, and Mack signed Plank to a contract.

“Plank made his major league debut for the Athletics on May 13, 1901. As a rookie, Plank pitched to a 17-13 win–loss record with a 3.31 earned run average (ERA) and 28 complete games in 32 games started.” He’s certainly in the running for the greatest left-handed pitcher of all-time.

mooree

P-Earl Moore, Cleveland Blues, 23 Years Old

16-14, 2.90 ERA, 99 K, .162, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more seasons. 27 percent chance)

 

1st Time All-Star-Alonzo Earl “Crossfire” or “Big Ebbie” or “Steam Engine in Boots” Moore was born on July 29, 1877 in Pickerington, OH. The six-foot, 195 pound righthander was off to a good start, but would have an up-and-down career. This season, Moore finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (4.9), seventh in ERA (2.90), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (123).

The Cleveland Blues, who will eventually be the modern-day Indians, started as a seventh-place 54-82 team managed by Jimmy McAleer. He would go to the Browns starting in 1902 and have a longer, more successful career there. Cleveland had some of the worst hitting and, outside of Moore, the worst pitching in the league.

SABR speaks of his debut and pitching style, saying, “After his home debut–a 6–3 victory over Milwaukee–the Cleveland Plain Dealer remarked that ‘he showed wonderful speed–almost up to the quality possessed by Cy Young in his best days, and fairly good control.’ The Ohioan often relied on his fast ball against opponents, but he mixed in some ‘speedy benders,’ too. Perhaps most aggravating to hitters was Moore’s signature ‘crossfire’ pitching technique. In this unusual delivery, Moore cleverly toed the side edges of the rubber and, augmenting his wide mound position with a sidearm throwing motion, hurled pitches plateward at puzzling angles. Earl lamented his peers’ reluctance to try the method: ‘They rely on curves and changes of pace. Both are essential to success, but how much better they might succeed if they would only change from one side of the pitcher’s plate to the other. That is what constitutes the crossfire, in addition to the ability to stand with one foot on the extreme corner of the plate and step out and deliver the ball at the same time.’”

callahan

P-Jimmy Callahan, Chicago White Sox, 27 Years Old

15-8, 2.42 ERA, 70 K, .331, 1 HR, 19 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.27

1st Time All-Star-James Joseph “Jimmy” or “Nixey” Callahan was born on March 18, 1874 in Fitchburg, MA. Standing at five-foot-10 and weighing in at 180 pounds, the righthander started as a pitcher for Philadelphia in 1894. When Nixey came back to the National League in 1897, he was a second baseman with Chicago. In 1898, Callahan moved back to the mound, where he would remain until 1903. In 1903, he moved to third base, the next season he moved to the outfield, where he would remain until he finished his career in 1913.

This season was his best season ever, as Callahan finished second in ERA (2.42), second in WHIP (1.138), second in hits per 9 IP (8.150), and second in Adjusted ERA+ (144). His pitching would get worse over the next two seasons, which explained his move to being a position player.

Wikipedia has some of his career highlights, stating, “On September 20, 1902, Callahan pitched the first no-hitter in American League history. Also, he is the only pitcher to have collected five hits in a game three times. (June 29, 1897; May 18, 1902; and May 18, 1903).

“Only two years earlier, in the other extreme of his career, he gave up 48 hits in two consecutive starts in 1900, yielding 23 on September 11 and 25 in the game before.” Another incredible thing about his 1901 season is he compiled all of these accomplishments while missing the first few weeks of the seasons with a broken bone in his forearm.

siever

P-Ed Siever, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

18-14, 3.24 ERA, 85 K, .168, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Edward Tilden “Ed” Siever was born on April 2, 1875 in Goddard, KS. This was his first Major League season and he had a good one, though he did finish third in errors committed on the mound with nine. He has some better seasons ahead, though his career would be short.

Wikipedia tells about his pre-Major League career, stating, “Siever began his professional baseball career with the London Cockneys in 1899 and 1900. He compiled a 14-8 record in 1899 and helped lead the Cockneys to the Canadian League pennant.

“In 1900, he joined the Detroit Tigers, then a minor league club, compiling a 6-5 record with a 3.97 earned run average (ERA). He was described by a writer in the Detroit Free Press as having ‘a great pitching arm and a physique as strong as a young lion.’

“In 1901, the American League became a major league. In the Tigers’ inaugural season as a major league club, Siever and Roscoe Miller were the team’s leading pitchers. Siever appeared in 38 games, 33 as a starter, compiled an 18-14 record and a 3.24 ERA with 30 complete games and 85 strikeouts in 288-2/3 innings pitched.”

A website called Baseball Guru has an article called “Did All of Ty Cobb’s Team Mates Hate Him?” According to that article, Ed Siever was in anti-Cobb camp and was released from the team because of it? It’s a pretty good article with an explanation, if not excusal, of the Georgia Peach’s surliness.

howell

P-Harry Howell, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

14-21, 3.67 ERA, 93 K, .218, 2 HR, 26 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-Harry Taylor Howell was born on November 14, 1876 in Brooklyn, NY. He stood at five-foot-nine, but no weight is given for him at Baseball Reference. He had the advantage of pitching during the Deadball Era, so his stats might not overrate his talent a bit. He started for Brooklyn in 1898, moved to Baltimore in 1899, and then was part of a championship team for Brooklyn in 1900. He then jumped to the American League where he finished third in losses with 21 and third in errors committed as a pitcher with nine. He has better seasons ahead.

According to SABR, Howell was “the fourth child of Edward and Helen Howell. Harry learned the baseball craft on the sandlots of Brooklyn, and was employed as a plumber when the Meriden Bulldogs of the Connecticut League signed him for the 1898 season. Unofficially, Howell ran up an 18-13 twirling record in addition to a .209 batting mark as an extra outfielder for the defending champion Bulldogs.

“Playing for John McGraw again [in 1901], Howell displayed his versatility, hurling 294 2/3 innings, and also appearing at first, second, shortstop and in all three outfield positions, batting .218 with two home runs and 26 RBI.”

Howell was also part of forfeited game this season, according to a book,  Forfeits and Successfully Protested Games in Major League Baseball: A Complete Record, 1871-2013, which says, “After Orioles player-manager John McGraw and pitcher Harry Howell were ejected for arguing, practically the entire Baltimore team charged [umpire Jack] Sheridan and Mike Donlin threw a bat at him from behind, fortunately missing his target. When Baltimore refused to take the field and resume play in the prescribed time, Sheridan forfeited the game to Detroit.”

carrick

P-Bill Carrick, Washington Senators, 27 Years Old

14-22, 3.75 ERA, 70 K, .159, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 103 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-William Martin “Doughnut Bill” Carrick was born on September 5, 1873 in Erie, PA. The five-foot-10, 150 pound rightie started with the Giants in 1898 before jumping to the American League this season where he had his best season ever, though at one point during the season, he lost 17 consecutive decisions. He’d pitch one more year for the Senators before calling it quits in the Major Leagues.

Jim Manning manned the Senators in his only year of managing. (Man, that’s too many mans). They finished sixth, 20-and-a-half games out of first. Washington was among the worst hitting and pitching teams in the league in its inaugural season.

DC Baseball History has a bit on Washington’s start in the new league, saying, “The Washington Senators played their first game of the newly formed American League. The Senators visited the Philadelphia Athletics at Columbia Park in Philadelphia. Before the game the over flowing crowd of 10,547 people were entertained by the First Regiment Band. After the band played Philadelphia’s Mayor Samuel Ashbridge threw out the first pitch.

“After all of the pre-game hoopla the Washington Senators behind the fine pitching of Bill Carrick went on to beat Chick Fraser and the Philadelphia Athletics by the score of 5-1.”

With my skimpy amount of research, I was unable to dig up why Carrick had the nickname “Doughnut.” What I do know is he finished his career with a 63-89 record, 4.14 ERA, and 88 ERA+. Still, he had the first win for this franchise, which will someday be the Twins.

clarkeb

C-Boileryard Clarke, Washington Senators, 32 Years Old

.280, 3 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 58 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

1st Time All-Star-William Jones “Boileryard” Clarke was born on October 18, 1868 in New York, NY. He started as a catcher for Baltimore from 1893-98, being part of three championship teams. Clarke then moved to Boston in 1899 and 1900 and jumped to the American League this season. Boileryard was always better at the defensive end of the game than at the bat and this season caught 107 games, second in the league for backstops. He was also third in putouts as C (358), second in assists as C (122), third in errors committed as C (24), second in double plays turned as C (11), second in stolen bases allowed as C (131), second in caught stealing as C (108), and third in fielding % as C (.952).

About that nickname, Wikipedia says, “He moved to New Mexico in his early childhood, was raised in Indian territory, and studied civil engineering in Santa Fe at Brothers College. He began his professional career in the Three-I League in 1889, and made his debut for the Orioles on May 1, 1893. He said that his nickname, ‘Boileryard’, was given to him because of his voice, explaining, ‘I had a terrible voice which you could hear all over the diamond.’

“During his major league career, he also assisted the Princeton University baseball team as a coach from 1897 to 1901.” So many times I’ve wanted to see these players I’m writing about and now I want to hear them, especially Boileryard’s amazing voice.

woodb

C-Bob Wood, Cleveland Blues, 35 Years Old

.292, 1 HR, 49 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Robert Lynn “Bob” Wood was born on July 28, 1865 in Thorn Hill, OH. He started as a catcher for my beloved Reds in 1898 through 1900, before jumping across state and leagues to the Blues. He finished second in double plays turned as C (11), and second in passed balls (17). He didn’t have a significant career, but he wasn’t a bad hitter in his seven seasons. After this season, Wood stayed with Cleveland one more season, then didn’t play in the Majors in 1903. He finished his career with Detroit in 1904 and 1905, where having to play with Ty Cobb caused him to quit. Just kidding. It was his .083 average that season that did him in.

Wikipedia has a succinct wrap-up of his career, stating, “Born in Thorn Hill, Ohio, Wood did not debut in the major leagues until he was 32 years old. He played the majority of his major league career (290 out of 382 games) as a catcher. He hit .314 with a .406 on-base percentage with the Reds. Over his entire major league career, he had a .281 batting average and a .339 on-base percentage.

“Wood died in Churchill, Ohio at age 77.”

SABR adds, “Even after he’d made the major leagues he successfully circulated the tale that he was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and came to the US at age 12, according to The Sporting News (June 10, 1899), which featured a likeness of him. In the winter of 1891-92 he successfully shaved six years off his birth year of 1865 and wrote to folks in Sioux City, Iowa, who were thinking of signing him for the 1892 season that he must be called ‘Major Bob Wood’ and was 6-feet-2½ in his stocking feet and weighed a solid 187 pounds, but the February 24, 1894, issue of The Sporting News said his friends back in Findlay, Ohio, all had a good laugh when they heard that story, for he ‘was barely 150 and maybe a foot short’ of 6-feet-2 (he was actually 5-feet-8 and 153).”

freeman

1B-Buck Freeman, Boston Americans, 29 Years Old

.339, 12 HR, 114 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as 1B-36

1st Time All-Star-John Frank “Buck” Freeman was born on October 30, 1871 in Catasauqua, PA. He started as a 19-year-old playing one game for the American Association Washington Statesmen. Freeman then didn’t play Major League ball again until he was 26 and joined the National League Washington Senators. In 1899 for the Senators, he launched 25 homers, but didn’t make the All-Star team because his outfield defense was horrendous. In 1900, he moved to Boston and then this season jumped to the American League.

Along with the categories listed above, Freeman finished third in Offensive WAR (4.8), third in batting average (.339), second in slugging (.520), second in on-base plus slugging (.920), second in homers (12), second in runs batted in (114), second in adjusted OPS+ (155), third in runs created (100), second in adjusted batting runs (36), second in adjusted batting wins (3.5), second in offensive win % (.750), second in power-speed # (14.1), third in AB per HR (40.8), and third in defensive games as 1B (128). In many of those offensive categories, he would finish second behind the same man, Nap Lajoie.

Freeman was again one of those players who played in the wrong era for his skill set. He was a home run hitter in the dead ball era and would end up with 82 for his career. If he played later in the 20th Century, he could easily be a 40 or 50 home run hitter regularly. This is what I like about doing this All-Star team. I’m not comparing Freeman against Ken Griffey, Jr., I’m comparing him against his peers.

anderson

1B-John Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers, 27 Years Old

.330, 8 HR, 99 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 1B-81

Fielding % as 1B-.982

1st Time All-Star-“Honest John” Joseph Anderson was born on December 14, 1873 in Sarpsborg, Norway. The six-foot-two, 180 pound Norwegian started for Brooklyn from 1894-98, moved to Washington in 1898, then back to Brooklyn the same year. Anderson then was part of Brooklyn’s championship team in 1899. He didn’t play Major League ball in 1900, but with the formation of the American League came back this season for the Brewers.

Anderson was the only All-Star player for the Brewers, who brought up the rear in the inaugural American League season. Hugh Duffy coached for his first time ever and his team finished with a 48-89 record, 35-and-a-half games out of first place. They were the league’s worst hitting team and second worst pitching team and it showed. This was the only year for the Brewers as they would become the St. Louis Browns in 1902.

Besides the categories listed above, Honest John finished third in Games Played (138), third in At Bats (576), second in Hits (190), third in Total Bases (274), second in Doubles (46), third in Runs Batted In (99), third in Extra Base Hits (61), third in Power-Speed # (13.0), second in Putouts (1,350), third in Putouts as 1B (1,310), third in Assists as 1B (66), third in Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B (11.24), and third in Range Factor/Game as 1B (11.01).

Anderson was the first of three Norwegian born Major League baseball players. The others were Arndt Jorgens (1929-39) and Jimmy Wiggs (1903, 1905-06). I’m surprised there are that many.

lajoie3

2B-Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Athletics, 26 Years Old

1897 1900

.426, 14 HR, 125 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1901 AL Triple Crown

WAR Position Players-8.4

Offensive WAR-8.4

Batting Average-.426

On-Base %-.463

Slugging %-.643 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.106

Runs Scored-145

Hits-232

Total Bases-350 (2nd Time)

Doubles-48 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-14

Runs Batted In-125 (2nd Time)

Singles-156

Adjusted OPS+-198

Runs Created-158

Adj. Batting Runs-73

Adj. Batting Wins-7.1

Extra Base Hits-76 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-269

Offensive Win %-.885

Power-Speed #-18.4

Putouts as 2B-395 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.58 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.52 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as 2B-.960 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-There’s a formula for having an incredible season. Take a player from a great league and move him to a mediocre one. That’s why Cy Young and Nap Lajoie dominated the American League this season. His .426 batting average is still the highest ever in Junior League. The AL would start getting better, but this year, it’s still not up to National League snuff. But that shouldn’t take away from what Larry did this season or what Fred Dunlap did in the Union Association in 1884. They proved their greatness by dominating their respective opponents.

Wikipedia agrees with me, saying, “Author Robert Kelly writes: ‘The .422 batting average of Lajoie still stands as an AL record. To some degree, however, it is tainted. The 1901 season was the first for the AL and the level of competition was presumably evolving. Such questions, however, in no way cast doubt on the extraordinary batting ability of the second baseman.’”

For Lajoie, along with that long list of categories in which he led, he finished second in WAR (8.4), third in Hit by Pitch (13), third in AB per SO (60.4), and second in AB per HR (38.9). Runs Batted In were not an official category as of yet, so the Triple Crown he won wasn’t lauded as it would be nowadays.

Lajoie’s Hall of Fame page says of him, “Napoleon Lajoie, hitter extraordinaire, sublime fielder, manager and executive, has been described as ‘the first superstar in American League history.’ And indeed, to concentrate on his hitting or his fielding is to miss his all-around talent as a player.”

williams2

2B-Jimmy Williams, Baltimore Orioles, 24 Years Old

1899

.317, 7 HR, 96 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-21 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Williams jumped from Pittsburgh to the American League this season and also jumped from third to second base. He led the league in triples, meaning the second basemen of the AL hit for the cycle in the hit categories, with Nap Lajoie leading in singles, doubles, and homers. He also finished third in runs scored (113), putouts as 2B (339), assists as 2B (412), and range factor/9 Inn as 2B (6.01). His season only looks weak in comparison to the great Lajoie.

SABR has a great story on how he got to the AL, stating, “In late March 1901 Williams boarded a train in Denver bound for Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Pirates spring training camp. He never made it because the shrewd and persuasive John McGraw, manager of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League, staking its claim at major league status for the first time, was on a talent safari. He ‘kidnapped’ the amiable Williams (and soon Cardinal Mike Donlin) and talked him into ‘jumping’ his Pittsburgh contract to sign with the Orioles. Smoke City native Mrs. Williams was astounded when the telegram reached her that said her husband was in Baltimore. Lawsuits were planned and shortstop-friend Fred ‘Bones’ Ely wanted to spend his own money to go retrieve Williams. Dreyfuss and Williams finally did get together for one ‘last chance’ contract discussion before his league change became official. Some fans thought Jimmy had backstabbed Dreyfuss since Williams received all of his 1900 salary despite his injury and some Mt. Clemens rehab time, which was suggested by Ely.” Read the whole thing, there’s a lot about his outstanding minor league career.

Collins Jimmy 142.62 A PD3B-Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans, 31 Years Old

1897 1898

.332, 6 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Defensive WAR-1.9 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 3B-138 (4th Time)

Assists as 3B-328 (4th Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.95 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.85 (3rd Time)

3rd  Time All-Star-After moving from the Boston Beaneaters to the Boston Americans, Collins had his best season ever and also was the first manager of a team which would someday be the Red Sox. He finished second in WAR Position Players (6.7), second in Offensive WAR (5.2), third in games played (138), third in hits (187), second in total bases (279), third in doubles (42), second in runs created (103), second in extra base hits (64), second in putouts as 3B (203), second in errors committed as 3B (50), and third in double plays turned as 3B (24), along with the categories in which he led.

Meanwhile, as a skipper, Collins led Boston to a second place 79-57 record, four games behind the White Sox. Led by Cy Young, the Americans had the best pitching in the league and led by the player-manager himself, Boston was the third best hitting team in the AL’s inaugural season.

I wrote in Collins’ 1898 blurb, he always kept his eye on his pocketbook and the formation of the AL opened up more opportunities for money for the third baseman. Wikipedia says, “Following the 1900 season, Collins, who was by now regarded as the best third baseman in the game, was offered the manager‘s job with the Boston Americans of the new American League. He accepted the job, which came with a salary of $5,500, a $3,500 signing bonus, and a cut of the team’s profits, despite efforts by Beaneaters owner Arthur Soden to keep him. The two traded accusations in the press, and Collins went further, accusing National League owners of conspiring to hold down salaries, stating ‘I would not go back now if they offered me the whole outfit.’”

hartman

3B-Fred Hartman, Chicago White Sox, 36 Years Old

.309, 3 HR, 89 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

1st Time All-Star-Frederick Orrin “Fred” or “Dutch” Hartman was born on April 21, 1865 in Allegheny, PA. The five-foot-six, 170 pound third baseman started with Pittsburgh in 1894, didn’t play in 1895 or 1896, played for St. Louis in 1897, moved to the Giants in 1898-99, didn’t play in 1900, and then ended up with the American League champion White Sox this season. He finished third in Errors Committed as 3B (49), but his hitting, along with being in a weaker league helped him make the All-Star team in his best season ever. In 1902, he went back to the National League, finishing off his career with St. Louis.

A book by Ted Leavengood, called Clark Griffith: The Old Fox of Washington Baseball says Hartman was chosen specifically by the Chicago manager. It states, “Clark Griffith’s team was the best stocked of any team carrying forward for 1901, and he handpicked four National Leaguers who he believed would bring with them the kind of baseball Griffith liked.

“The infield was defensively strong with Frank Isbell at first, Fred Hartman at third and Frank Shugart at short. Shugart and Hartman had considerable National League experience. Their defensive skills in many respects outweighed their hitting. They were not sluggers, but pesky hitters who were fast and frequently got on base. Adding National Leaguer Sam Mertes to the infield plugged the hole left by the departure of 1900 captain, Dick Padden, who moved back to the National League with St. Louis.” The Old Fox made the right choices as they won the AL crown.

mcgraw6

3B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 28 Years Old

1893 1895 1898 1899 1900

.349, 0 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No. (Yes as manager)

Ron’s: No (Would require one more All-Star season. Most likely not)

 

Led in:

 

Hit by Pitch-14

6th Time All-Star-One of the catalysts in the formation of the new American League, McGraw, would ironically only be in the league for two seasons. He made the All-Star team this season despite playing in only 73 games and though Mugsy would play through 1907, he’d never play more than 55 games again. This season, McGraw finished third in Adj. Batting Runs (31) and third in Adj. Batting Wins (3.0), despite playing only half of his team’s games. He is an underrated player, with his fame coming as a skipper.

Speaking of managing, his Orioles finished fifth with a 68-65 record, 13-and-a-half games out of first. As with so many teams McGraw was part of, the hitting, led by Mike Donlin was the best in the league, but the pitching lacked just enough to keep Baltimore out of the running.

Since this is most likely McGraw’s last All-Star team, here’s some tidbits from Wikipedia: “In 1923, only nine years before he retired, McGraw reflected on his life inside the game he loved in his memoir My Thirty Years in Baseball. He stepped down as manager of the New York Giants in the middle of the 1932 season. He was reactivated briefly when he accepted the invitation to manage the National League team in the 1933 All-Star Game.

Less than two years after retiring, McGraw died of uremic poisoning[28] at age 60 and is interred in New Cathedral (Roman Catholic) Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Connie Mack would surpass McGraw’s major league victory total just months later. After McGraw’s death, his wife found, among his personal belongings, a list of all the black players he wanted to sign over the years.”

parent

SS-Freddy Parent, Boston Americans, 25 Years Old

.306, 4 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as SS-138

1st Time All-Star-Alfred Joseph “Freddy” Parent was born on November 11, 1875 in Biddeford, ME. The five-foot-seven, 154 pound shortstop started by playing for two games for St. Louis in 1899, then not playing in the Major Leagues in 1900. With the formation of the American League, a spot opened up for the diminutive Parent and he’d be a good shortstop for the next few years.

This season, along with leading the league in games played as a shortstop, Parent finished third in WAR Position Players (6.4), second in Defensive WAR (1.8), third in games played (138), second in sacrifice hits (21), second in Assists as SS (446), third in Double Plays Turned as SS (52), and third in Fielding % as SS (.918). It would be his defense which would bring him fame over the years.

Baseball Reference says of him, “Freddy Parent was an instant hit in Boston, as a solid fielder and dependable batter, who could slap the ball to all fields and was an outstanding bunter, but who also collected his share of extra base hits. He was also an excellent baserunner, and during his first few seasons, an ironman who never missed a game. This would change later in his career, after a few beanings sustained because of his tendency to crowd the plate began to cut into his playing time.”

Also, there’s this personal tidbit from SABR: “Parent married the former Fidelia LaFlamme in 1896 and they had one child, Fred Jr. His ‘proposal’ to the 16 year-old Fidelia included a conditional baseball provision: ‘I want to marry you, but I do not want to work in the mill. Okay?’ The young Fidelia, aware of his baseball desire and potential, replied ‘yes.’ Thus began a 67-year relationship.”

elberfeld

SS-Kid Elberfeld, Detroit Tigers, 26 Years Old

.308, 3 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as SS-332

Double Plays Turned as SS-62

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.24

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.14

1st Time All-Star-Norman Arthur “The Tabasco Kid” Elberfeld was born on April 13, 1875 in Pomeroy, OH. The five-foot-seven, 158 pound defensive whiz started his career with Philadelphia in 1898, before playing for Cincinnati in 1899. After not playing in the Major Leagues in 1900, Detroit picked him up as a shortstop, where he showed great range and a decent bat. Elberfeld finished first in the categories above and second in Errors Committed (76), third in Def. Games as SS (121), third in Assists as SS (411), and second in Errors Committed as SS (76). He would get a little Hall of Fame interest.

Oh, and he had a temper, as Wikipedia explains, “Elberfeld was given the nickname ‘The Tabasco Kid’ because of his fiery temper. He was known for his ferocious verbal, and sometimes physical, assaults on umpires. On one occasion, while in the minors, Elberfeld threw a lump of mud into the umpire’s open mouth. Later in his career, Elberfeld assaulted umpire Silk O’Loughlin and had to be forcibly removed by police; Elberfeld was suspended for just 8 games. Although records were not kept, it was said that Elberfeld was thrown out of more games than any other player of his era.”

More from Wiki: “Prior to the 1900 season, the Reds sent Elberfeld back to Detroit, then still part of the Western League. Elberfeld remained with Detroit when they joined the newly formed American League in 1901. He was the Tigers’ starting shortstop during their first two seasons as a Major League team. In the team’s debut, on April 25, 1901, the Tigers committed 7 errors, including 3 by Elberfeld. Later in the season, Elberfeld had 12 assists in a game on September 2, 1901.”

donlin

LF-Mike Donlin, Baltimore Orioles, 23 Years Old

.340, 5 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.58

1st Time All-Star-Michael Joseph “Turkey Mike” Donlin was born on May 30, 1878 in Peoria, IL. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound outfielder started with St. Louis in 1899-90, before coming to John McGraw’s Orioles this season. He was constantly injured and very rarely played a full season. Even in this All-Star year, he played only 121 games. Turkey Mike finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.3), 10th in Offensive WAR (3.8), second in batting average (.340), third in on-base percentage (.409), eighth in slugging % (.475), 10th in stolen bases (33), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (140). He has better seasons ahead.

Wikipedia says he was “A controversial character – Donlin, also known as ‘Turkey Mike’ for his unique strut – his entertaining personality, flamboyant style of dress, and prodigious talent as a hitter caused him to be lionized as ‘the baseball idol of Manhattan.’ However, alcoholism led to friction with club officials and incarceration. Donlin attempted to leverage his popularity as an athlete to launch a career in Broadway theatre where he met and married Vaudeville comedian Mabel Hite in 1906. Together, they performed in the baseball-themed play Stealing Home for about three years.”

After the season, Wikipedia says, “But in March of 1902, he was sentenced to six months in prison for his actions during a drinking binge and was promptly released by the Orioles.” Throughout baseball history there have been those players who seem to be better at making headlines than the actual game itself. Donlin’s batting average and off-field activities would get him Hall of Fame interest.

stahl2

CF-Chick Stahl, Boston Americans, 28 Years Old

1899

.303, 6 HR, 72 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

2nd Time All-Star-After Stahl made the All-Star team with the National League version of Boston in 1899, he played with it again in 1900, before staying in Beantown with the American League team this year and making his second All-Star team. Stahl finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.3), 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (127), third in sacrifices (20), and third in fielding % as OF (.957). His career will be shortened by a tragedy coming down the road, but we’ll get to that at a later time.

According to a website Wahoo Sam, Stahl was almost murdered before the 1902 season began. It says, “On an unusually warm January evening in 1902, Chick was taking a stroll with a female friend in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As Stahl navigated the streets of his hometown there were another set of footsteps not far behind him. They belonged to Lulu Ortmann, a pretty young woman who was carrying a revolver in her waistcoat. She intended to shoot Stahl at close range. Chick knew Lulu, and Lulu knew Chick – they had been lovers. But Chick had found a new girl to fancy and casually brushed Lulu aside. Spurned, Ms. Ortmann was planning to exact the revenge of a heartbroken lover. But Lulu’s best friend, tipped off of the plan, went to the Fort Wayne police, and before Lulu could rip a hole in Chick’s chest she was subdued. Stahl was shaken, but it was a testament to his charm and icy nerve that he was able to calm his new lady friend and keep that relationship going for some months before he moved on to another.”

hoy4

CF-Dummy Hoy, Chicago White Sox, 39 Years Old

1888 1890 1891

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Bases on Balls-86 (2nd Time)

Hit by Pitch-14

Oldest-39 Years Old

4th Time All-Star-It’s been 10 years since the deaf Hoy made his last All-Star team. This is his fourth time on this list in his fourth different league. In 1892-93, Hoy played for Washington, then moved to Cincinnati (1894-97) and Louisville (1898-99). He didn’t play Major League ball in 1900, before the formation of the American League opened up a spot for him with the league champion White Sox, his only time on a league-winning team.

Hoy had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (4.2), ninth in Offensive WAR (3.9), fourth in on-base percentage (.407), third in plate appearances (641), second in times on base (255), third in double plays turned as an outfielder (6), and second in fielding percentage as an outfielder (.958). Hoy’s specialty was always getting on base and he would up with a .386 lifetime on-base percentage. While he’s not deserving of the Hall of Fame, he was still a heck of a ballplayer.

His deafness has led to a recent film, according to Wikipedia, which says, “In 2008, the Documentary Channel aired the biography Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero (aka: I See the Crowd Roar). The documentary, using photographs of Hoy and actors to recreate certain events, chronicled the highlights of Hoy’s life and his contributions to baseball; Hoy was portrayed by Ryan Lane.”

Also, “Upon his death in 1961 at the age of 99, Hoy was the longest-lived former MLB player ever. (In 1973, Ralph Miller broke Hoy’s ‘record’ by becoming the first ex-major leaguer to reach the age of 100. Altogether, 13 former big league ballplayers have become centenarians, the oldest being Chet Hoff, who was 107 when he died in 1998.)”

jonesf

RF-Fielder Jones, Chicago White Sox, 29 Years Old

.311, 2 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Fielder Allision Jones was born on August 13, 1871 in Shinglehouse, PA and how many of you are shocked like I am that Fielder is his real name and not a nickname! The five-foot-11, 180 pound outfielder started for Brooklyn from 1896-1900 and was part of two pennant-winning teams. Jones then won his third pennant this year with the White Sox. For Chicago, he finished second in on-base percentage (.412), second in runs scored (120), second in bases on balls (84), third in stolen bases (38), third in singles (141), and third in times on base (252). He would wind up with a good career and get some Hall of Fame interest.

Many leagues had taken on the National League juggernaut since the NL’s beginning in 1876. The American Association (1882-91) gave it the best shot, while the Union Association (1884) and Players League (1890) lasted just one season. It wouldn’t have been impossible to think the American League would do the same thing — take a run at the National League, but end up failing. But here we are in 2017 and both leagues are thriving. The American League is still the weaker league in 1901, but that is going to quickly change and in just two seasons, the two leagues are going to battle each other in the first official World Series. It’s important to note that Cy Young and Nap Lajoie had dominant seasons, but it’s because they were already great players coming to a watered-down league.