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.”

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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.

1901 National League All-Star Team

P-Christy Mathewson, NYG

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Al Orth, PHI

P-Red Donahue, PHI

P-Bill Dinneen, BSN

P-Bill Donovan, BRO

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Jack Chesbro, PIT

P-Bill Duggleby, PHI

C-Heinie Peitz, CIN

C-Deacon McGuire, BRO

1B-Jake Beckley, CIN

2B-Tom Daly, BRO

3B-Otto Krueger, STL

SS-Bobby Wallace, STL

SS-Honus Wagner, PIT

SS-George Davis, NYG

LF-Jesse Burkett, STL

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, BRO

LF-Topsy Hartsel, CHC

LF-Fred Clarke, PIT

RF-Elmer Flick, PHI

RF-Sam Crawford, CIN

 

mathewson

P-Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 20 Years Old

20-17, 2.41 ERA, 221 K, .215, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-9.0

WAR for Pitchers-9.1

Wild Pitches-23

Assists as P-108

1st Time All-Star-Christopher “Christy” or “Big Six” or “Matty” Mathewson was born on August 12, 1880 in Factoryville, PA. You might have heard of him. He pitched six games for the Giants as a 19-year-old in 1900, but this was considered his rookie year and it was fantastic. He finished first in WAR (9.0); first in WAR for Pitchers (9.1); fifth in innings pitched (336); sixth in ERA (2.41); and sixth in Adjusted ERA+ (138). He was wild at the beginning of his career, leading the National League in wild pitches his first three seasons, but he would eventually tone that down. Matty is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, making all the biggies like the ONEHOF, Ron’s, and, for a consolation prize, Cooperstown.

This season is the first season the modern baseball fan might recognize. The NL had existed since 1876 and had its competitors. The American Association existed from 1882-1891, but then folded. The Union Association (1884) and Players League (1890) lasted one season each. Yet only the NL kept going and keeping Major League Baseball history alive.

That is until this season when the American League started. I’m sure that league was supposed to be like all others before it, competitive but short-lived. Needless to say, since we still have an AL nowadays, that proved not to be the case. The NL was no longer the only game in town. I’ll have more on how the AL formed in the American League write-up.

willis2

P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

1899

20-17, 2.36 ERA, 133 K, .187, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-6 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-154 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-40 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.2 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-After an off 1900 season, in which Willis went 10-17 with a 4.19 ERA, he’s back on the list, having a great season. He finished second in WAR (8.7), behind only Christy Mathewson (9.0); second in WAR for Pitchers (8.8), again behind Big Six (9.1); 10th in innings pitched (305 1/3); fourth in ERA (2.36); and first in Adjusted ERA+ (154).

The Beaneaters, or the modern-day Braves, have a storied history. They started way back in earliest league, the National Association, back in 1871, and then moved to the National League in 1876. They have always been a competitive team, no matter the league, but that’s not going to be the case for Boston for a while. This season, Frank Selee, managing the team for his 12th and final season, led the team to a fifth-place 69-69 record. The Beaneaters could pitch with the best of them, but their hitting was anemic.

SABR tells about how the American League affected salaries, saying, “In 1901 the American League challenged the National as a major league, and the completion between the leagues for ballplayers bid up salaries. As some of his teammates were leaving for greener pastures in the AL, Willis reportedly agreed to jump to the American League’s Philadelphia Athletics but soon changed his mind. Other star National League hurlers saw their salaries jump from the American League threat: Noodles Hahn leapt to $4,200, Christy Mathewson reportedly made $5,000, and Joe McGinnity $3,000.” It’s funny this article is about Willis and doesn’t mention his $2,000 salary.

hahn3

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 22 Years Old

1899 1900

22-19, 2.71 ERA, 239 K, .170, 0 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Innings Pitched-375 1/3

Strikeouts-239 (3rd Time)

Complete Games-41

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-3.464

Batters Faced-1,524

3rd Time All-Star-Noodles reminds me a lot of Sandy Koufax, except his career was even shorter. He had a phenomenal short stretch of pitching brilliance. Oh, what kind of stats could have Hahn compiled if he pitched more than eight seasons in the Majors! He made his third consecutive All-Star team, finishing fourth in WAR (7.5); third in WAR for Pitchers (7.5), behind Christy Mathewson (9.1) and Vic Willis (8.8); first in innings pitched (375 1/3); and eighth in ERA (2.71).

As for my Reds, well, it was a terrible year. Bid McPhee took over the coaching reins and led to the team to a last place 52-87 finish. Despite the good year by Hahn, it was pitching which killed this team. The Reds went 30-68 in games not decided by Noodles.

Here’s a wrap-up of Hahn’s season from Wikipedia, which states, “In 1901, Hahn recorded 22 wins but Cincinnati finished in last place. He was the first NL pitcher to win 20 or more games with an eighth-place team. Winning 22 of his team’s 52 victories, Hahn accounted for the highest percentage of a team’s victories until Steve Carlton won 27 of the 59 games that the Philadelphia Phillies won in 1972. He led the league in innings pitched that season and was the league’s strikeout leader for the third consecutive season. In a 1901 game, Hahn struck out 16 batters, the highest single-game total in any major league since 1887.” The free encyclopedia is wrong, by the way, because in the early days of the NL, there were plenty of pitchers winning 20 games or more for eighth place or lower teams. The first one I found was in 1881 when Lee Richmond won 25 games for the 1881 Worcester Ruby Legs.

orth

P-Al Orth, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

20-12, 2.27 ERA, 92 K, .281, 1 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Walks & Hits per IP-1.001

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.023

Shutouts-6

1st Time All-Star-Albert Lewis “Al” or “Smiling Al” or “The Curveless Wonder” Orth was born on September 5, 1872 in Sedalia, MO. He started in 1895 with Philadelphia and, up to this point, has a good career. Coming into 1901, Orth had an 80-60 career record. This season, Orth finished fifth in WAR (7.4); fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.8); third in ERA (2.27), behind two pitchers from Pittsburgh, Jesse Tannehill (2.18) and Deacon Phillippe (2.22); and third in Adjusted ERA (150), trailing Vic Willis (154) and Tannehill (151).

His team, the Phillies, fell seven-and-a-half games short of Pittsburgh with  a second-place 83-57 record. Bill Shettsline, coaching for the fourth straight season for Philadelphia, led an atypical Phillies team whose pitching led the way instead of the hitting. As late in the season as August 21, Philly was just two games out, but Pittsburgh got hot the rest of the way to sprint to the title.

Baseball Reference mentions, “After attending DePauw University, Orth played for the Lynchburg Hill Climbers of the Virginia League in 1894 and 1895, winning 28 games in the latter year. His contract was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in August 1895, and he won 8 straight games for the club that summer, going 8-1 overall. He won at least 14 games for the team the next six seasons, leading the National League with an .824 winning percentage (14-3) in 1899 and recording 20 victories in 1901.” It’s worth noting he had a lot of these good records previously because Philadelphia scored so many runs.

donahue

P-Red Donahue, Philadelphia Phillies, 28 Years Old

20-13, 2.59 ERA, 88 K, .097, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Francis L. “Red” Donahue was born on January 23, 1873 in Waterbury, CT. He pitched two games with the Giants in 1893, then moved to St. Louis in 1895, where he pitched three terrible seasons. In 1898, Red moved to Philadelphia and his ERA finally settled under 4.00. This season, Donahue finished fifth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6), seventh in ERA (2.59), and seventh in Adjusted ERA+ (131). It was his best season ever.

It has been since 1892 that Philadelphia had any pitchers make the All-Star team, but this year they would have three. It never lacked for pitching, but this year, the team had both and had a good shot at winning the league title.

Wikipedia has just a bit on the tall pitcher: “Red broke into the Majors with the New York Giants in 1893, while still attending Villanova University. After finishing college in 1895, he appeared with the St. Louis Browns near the end of the season. On July 8, 1898, he pitched a no-hitter against the Boston Beaneaters. He lost 35 games during the 1897 season, still an MLB record.”

In that infamous 1897 season for St. Louis, Donahue pitched 348 innings, allowing a league-leading 485 hits and 237 earned runs. He finished with a 6.13 ERA and -0.3 Pitching WAR. Are you telling me the nation didn’t have a pitcher somewhere to take over for Red? St. Louis had a miserable season that year, finishing 29-102, and had a team ERA of 6.17. What a mess!

dinneen3

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Beaneaters, 25 Years Old

1899 1900

15-18, 2.94 ERA, 141 K, .211, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-Dinneen had a good year, despite his losing record. He finished sixth in WAR for Pitchers (6.1), seventh in innings pitched (309 1/3), and eighth in Adjusted ERA+ (123). Dinneen would have a career 170-177 record, but he was one of the best pitchers of his day. He’s still got some good years ahead, though those would be in the American League.

SABR says, “In his two seasons with Washington, Dinneen won a combined 23 games with an ERA under 4.00. When the National League contracted from 12 teams to eight prior to the 1900 season, Dinneen was sold to the Boston Beaneaters. He posted the first of his four 20-win seasons in 1900, tying for second in the National League with 20 victories, as the Beaneaters finished in fourth place. After a 15-win season in 1901, Dinneen jumped to Boston of the American League, where he enjoyed his greatest success.

“Dinneen was a good athlete. He played in the field ten times in his career, including center field four times, hit a respectable (for a pitcher) .192 for his career and stole 29 bases, including eight in 1901. His main two pitches were a fastball and a sharp curve, and he had textbook mechanics. Baseball Magazine praised his delivery: ‘A good step helps very much in pitching, and that it is essential to cultivate a powerful body swing, especially to follow the ball well with the arm and the body after it is delivered. Dinneen…has an especially stylish delivery in this respect, and should be a model for youth to imitate.’ Hall of Fame third baseman Jimmy Collins rated six pitchers among the best he had ever seen. The list consisted of Dinneen and five Hall of Famers: Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jack Chesbro, Walter Johnson, and Ed Walsh.”

donovan

P-Bill Donovan, Brooklyn Superbas, 24 Years Old

25-15, 2.77 ERA, 226 K, .170, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-25

Games Pitched-45

Saves-3

Bases on Balls-152

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.026

Def. Games as P-45

1st Time All-Star-William Edward “Wild Bill” Donovan was born on October 13, 1876 in Lawrence, MA. The five-foot-11, 190 pound pitcher started in 1898 with Washington, before moving to Brooklyn the next year. In his first three seasons in the Majors, he pitched a total of 27 games, before becoming the Superbas’ ace this year. He finished seventh in WAR for Pitchers (5.9); third in innings pitched (351), behind Cincinnati’s Noodles Hahn (375 1/3) and New York’s Dummy Taylor (353 1/3); ninth in ERA (2.77); and ninth in Adjusted ERA+ (121).

Brooklyn, coached by Ned Hanlon, fell from first to third with a 79-57 record. Its hitting led them this season, though its pitching was decent enough. It would be a few years before this franchise won another league title and it would be 54 years before they were Major League champions.

Donovan acquired his nickname before entering the Majors, according to Wikipedia, which says, “Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Donovan won his ‘Wild Bill’ nickname while playing for Hartford in the minors. When Hartford teammate Cy Seymour was returned to the Major Leagues after throwing wildly over a fence behind home plate, Donovan walked nine consecutive batters. Donovan received a $10 fine and a new nickname. Donovan served as the head football coach at Georgetown University in 1898, leading the Hoyas to a record of 7–3.”

According to SABR, Wild Bill wasn’t his only moniker. He also was called Smiling Bill by sportswriters and Chowder Bill because of his love of Hartford’s chowder parties, which had drinking, singing, parades, and delicious seafood soup.

nichols11

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 31 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900

19-16, 3.22 ERA, 143 K, .282, 4 HR, 28 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

11th Time All-Star-With Cy Young now departed to the American League, Nichols now took over as the pitching dean in the National League. Cy and he also have tied the record for most All-Star teams made as a pitcher. The list of All-Star team leaders is:

P-Tim Keefe, Kid Nichols, Cy Young (11)

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 (8)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

As if he didn’t have enough going for him, Nichols had his best year ever with the bat, slashing .282/.316/.491 for an OPS+ of 124. His highest Adjusted OPS+ before this season was 75 in 1897. Most likely because of his improved hitting, Nichols played seven games in outfield and five games at first base. On the mound, Nichols finished seventh in WAR (7.1), eighth in WAR for Pitchers (5.8), and sixth in innings pitched (321). As baseball was officially in the Deadball Era, his 3.22 ERA didn’t make the top 10.

Amazingly, at the peak of his career, having made the All-Star team 11 out of 12 seasons, Nichols took two years off from the Major Leagues. Wikipedia explains, “After the 1901 season, Nichols purchased an interest in a minor league franchise in Kansas City. He left the Beaneaters to manage and pitch for the Kansas City club, where he won a total of 48 games in 1902 and 1903.” It’s not impossible to believe Nichols would have won 400 games if he didn’t miss those two seasons. As it was, he ended with 361 victories.

chesbro

P-Jack Chesbro, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

21-10, 2.38 ERA, 129 K, .216, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-6

1st Time All-Star-John Dwight “Happy Jack” Chesbro was born on June 5, 1874 in North Adams, MA. He stood a five-foot-nine and weighed 180 pounds. Happy Jack started with Pittsburgh in 1899 and now has his first league championship. He’s a Hall of Famer, but that’s mainly because of one outstanding season in 1904, which we’ll get to sometime down the road. This season, Chesbro finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (5.5), fifth in ERA (2.38), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (138). He’s going to have a good career, but is it Hall of Fame worthy? Probably not.

Chesbro was once traded for Honus Wagner, according to SABR, which says, “On December 8, 1899 Chesbro, Paddy Fox, Art Madison, John O’Brien, and cash were traded to Louisville for 12 players, including Honus Wagner. The Louisville club was dissolved with Chesbro and the three others assigned to Pittsburgh in March as the NL reduced from 12 to eight teams.

“With just half a season of major-league experience under his belt, Chesbro refused to accompany the team south for spring training in 1900, though he later reported for duty. His absence from spring training and threats to retire would become an almost annual event. He improved to 15-13 with a second-place club in 1900 then was 21-10 in 1901 and 28-6 in 1902, pacing the league in shutouts each year for pennant winners.” So, he was a very good pitcher and here’s the thing about the Hall of Fame. It has the word “fame” in it, so it should be for famous people. Chesbro’s 41 wins in 1904 definitely put him in that category.

duggleby

P-Bill Duggleby, Philadelphia Phillies, 27 Years Old

20-12, 2.88 ERA, 95 K, .165, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-3.78

1st Time All-Star-William James “Frosty Bill” Duggleby was born on March 16, 1874 in Utica, NY. For whatever reason, there is limited information on him, including from what side of the plate he batted and his height and weight. He started out his career in the best possible manner, according to Philly Sports History, which says, “April 21, 1898 was a heady day for Bill Duggleby. He was taking the mound for his first ever start in the Major Leagues. Furthermore, when he stepped up to the plate for his first career at bat, the bases were juiced. ‘Frosty’ Bill, as he would come to be known for his lack of desire to make friends on the team and the fact that he wore a black suit even in summer, gave the pitch a good swing and-CRACK-sent it hurtling into the stratosphere. The Phils pitcher circled the bases and entered into the record books. He was the first player to ever hit a grand slam in his first ever career at-bat. No-one would do it again for 107 years, when Jeremy Hermida did it in his first at bat in 2005. The next year, Kevin Kouzmanoff would do it, and incredibly, in 2010 Daniel Nava would do it. After no-one had done it in 107 years, 3 guys did it in 5 years. Baseball, as they say, is a funny game.”

This season, Duggleby finished 10th in WAR for Pitchers (4.8) and didn’t hit any homers. He would end up with six dingers for his eight-year career.

peitz

C-Heinie Peitz, Cincinnati Reds, 30 Years Old

.305, 1 HR, 24 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Henry Clement “Heinie” Peitz was born on November 28, 1870 in St. Louis, MO. The five-foot-11, 165 pound backstop started for St. Louis from 1892-95 and then before the next season he was traded by the St. Louis Browns with Red Ehret to the Cincinnati Reds for Arlie Latham, Ed McFarland, Morgan Murphy, Tom Parrott and cash. Except for this season and the next, Peitz never was much at hitting, but in 1901 and ’02, he hit over .300. Johnny Bench only hit over .300 once, so logically Peitz must be the better Reds’ catcher, right? I’ll research this more.

Peitz achieved most of his fame from catching a particular pitcher as Wikipedia explains, “While catching for the Browns, Peitz teamed up with left-handed pitcher Ted Breitenstein, and the pair became known as the ‘Pretzel Battery.’ Peitz and Breitenstein were both sons of German immigrants and St. Louis natives. In the ‘Cardinals Encyclopedia’, authors Mike Eisenbath and Stan Musial wrote that The ‘Pretzel Battery’ was “one of the few things exciting about St. Louis’s National League team those first few seasons.’ The nickname reportedly developed when the pair were drinking beer and eating pretzels after a game, when a fan noticed them and yelled, ‘Look, it’s the “pretzel battery”.’

“The ‘Pretzel Battery’ was reunited in Cincinnati when Ted Breitenstein was sold to the Reds in 1896. Peitz developed a reputation for his ability to manage pitchers. He caught two no-hitters for the Reds, including the first no-hitter of the 20th century thrown by Reds’ pitcher Noodles Hahn in July 1900. Peitz had his best years as a batsman in 1901 and 1902 when he batted .305 and .314, respectively.”

mcguire6C-Deacon McGuire, Brooklyn Superbas, 37 Years Old

1890 1891 1895 1896 1897

.296, 0 HR, 40 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Errors Committed as C-21 (4th Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-123 (8th Time)

6th Time All-Star-Way back in my 1891 write-up for the American Association, I predicted McGuire had made his last All-Star team. He has now made four since. Since his last one in 1897, McGuire played for Washington in 1898 and 1899, before he was traded by the Washington Senators to the Brooklyn Superbas for Dan McGann and Aleck Smith. This would be his last year with Brooklyn before moving on again, but at least he was there for its two league titles in 1899 and 1901. He slashed .296/.342/.375 this season for an OPS+ of 105 as Brooklyn fell short of first place.

Will McGuire make another All-Star team to further disparage my predictive abilities? Possibly a couple times for the American League, but, well, who knows. We do know he’s one of many to challenge the dreaded “reserve clause.” Wikipedia says, “In March 1902, McGuire jumped to the still new American League, signing a two-year with the Detroit Tigers. The Brooklyn club sued McGuire for breaching his contract to play there and sought an injunction prohibiting him from playing anywhere else. The case went to trial in June 1902 in Philadelphia federal court. Brooklyn club president Charles Ebbets testified in court “to the extraordinary qualities of McGuire as a catcher.” McGuire argued that his contract with Brooklyn was invalid on the ground that the ‘reserve clause’ was a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

“After hearing the evidence, Judge George M. Dallas ruled in favor of McGuire, holding that the Brooklyn contract was unenforceable due to a lack of mutuality, and because Brooklyn had failed to prove that McGuire’s services were unique and irreplaceable.”

beckley71B-Jake Beckley, Cincinnati Reds, 33 Years Old

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894 1900

.307, 3 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 1B-140 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-34

Double Plays Turned as 1B-79

7th Time All-Star-This was a tough year for Beckley. If you read his 1900 blurb, you’ll see Christy Mathewson plunked him in the noggin and he was out for five minutes. There were no batting helmets in these times. Yet he still led the league in games played at first base. This was a sparse time for first basemen in the National League. In the position which often faced the league’s best hitters, no one really shined, allowing Beckley to easily remain the top of the crop at his position.

Beckley ended up slashing .307/.346/.429 for  and OPS+ of 130. The Deadball Era was in full swing as the average runs scored in the NL dropped from 5.2 a game in 1900 to 4.6 a game this season. Just seven years previously teams in the league averaged 7.4 runs per game.

Baseball Reference has a synopsis of Buckley’s career, stating, “Beckley is #46 on the all-time list for runs scored, #33 for hits, #4 for triples, and #39 for RBI (as of 2011). Based on Adjusted OPS+, his best year was his rookie season, at age 20. Although he hardly ever led the league in batting categories, he was frequently among the leaders as his Gray Ink score of 165 shows. The nine players most similar to him (based on the similarity scores method) are all in the Hall of Fame. He coached William Jewell College. Beckley was elected to the Hall on January 31, 1971 by the Committee on Baseball Veterans.”

daly2

2B-Tom Daly, Brooklyn Superbas, 35 Years Old

1899

.315, 3 HR, 90 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Doubles-38

Putouts as 2B-370

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.58

Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.47

2nd Time All-Star-Daly made his first All-Star team in 1899 at the age of 33 and now has made his second. With the departure of Nap Lajoie to the American League, there was a vacuum created at second base and Daly made the All-Star team because of it. Not to say he didn’t have a good season. Tido finished eighth in stolen bases with 31, along with having his highest OPS+ ever for a full season, 133. His team wasn’t able to win its third straight title, but you can’t blame Daly.

When Daly moved to the American League in 1902, the Chicago Tribune was so excited, it ran this blurb: “The engagement of Tom Daly to play second base for the American league (sic) team in this city will recall to the minds of Chicago fans the time when Daly played with Anson’s nine in the National League. Daly was a catcher then, and, despite his diminutive stature, was a valuable man – so valuable that Anson never ceased to grieve over losing him at the time of the brotherhood uprising. Daly was with the Chicago team at the time the latter made the trip around the world.”

Daly only has two more seasons left. As mentioned above, he moved to the White Sox in 1902 and then in 1903, played for White Sox and Reds to end his career. Tido ended up hitting .278 for his career with 49 home runs and 811 runs batted in. Daly’s career WAR was 28.0.

krueger

3B-Otto Krueger, St. Louis Cardinals, 24 Years Old

.275, 2 HR, 79 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

 

Led in:

 

Games Played-142

Def. Games as 3B-142

Assists as 3B-275

Errors Committed as 3B-60

1st Time All-Star-Arthur William “Otto” or “Oom Paul” Krueger was born on September 17, 1876 in Chicago, IL. He played part-time for 1899 Cleveland Spiders, the worst team in history, before moving to St. Louis in 1900. This season was considered his rookie year and he did well, but the only reason he made the All-Star team was a lack of good third baseman. Ooo Paul slashed .275/.353/.363 for an OPS+ 112. All of those numbers would be career highs.

As for the Cardinals, they moved from fifth in 1900 to fourth this year. Patsy Donovan took over the club and led them to 76-64 record, 14-and-a-half games out of first place. St. Louis could hit, leading the National League in runs scored, but lacked decent pitchers, keeping them from doing better.

A book called The Days of Wee Willie, Old Cy and Baseball War: Scenes from the Dawn of the Deadball Era, 1900-1903 wrote, “The Cardinals led the league in runs scored in 1901. The only weak hitters in their lineup were [Dick] Padden and the catcher, and Padden was adept at moving runners along on the bases. The team had good overall speed and was smart and aggressive on the bases. Leadoff hitter Jesse Burkett had an outstanding season. He scored 142 runs, 19 more than anyone else, and either led the league or finished high in most of the important offensive categories. Emmet Heidrick and Bobby Wallace also had great seasons at bat.” We’ll see more on Burkett and Wallace later.

wallace3

SS-Bobby Wallace, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

1898 1899

.324, 2 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-7.7

Defensive WAR-3.4

Assists-542 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed-66

Assists as SS-542

Errors Committed as SS-66

Double Plays Turned as SS-67

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.50

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.48

3rd Time All-Star-This was a mediocre year for All-Star infielders at the numbered positions of first, second, and third. That wasn’t the case with shortstop, however, as all three players would have spectacular seasons. We start with the defensive wizard, Wallace. He played his best season ever, finishing third in WAR (7.7), behind New York pitcher Christy Mathewson (9.0) and Boston hurler Vic Willis (8.7); first in WAR Position Players (7.7); seventh in Offensive WAR (5.3); first in Defensive WAR (3.4), and 10th in slugging percentage (.451). His dWAR was an all-time record, at least for another few years.

Wallace’s Hall of Fame page says, “In 1901, Wallace led all shortstops in chances per game, assists and double plays, and was still a threat at the plate, batting .324 over the duration of the season. Though he wasn’t known for his hitting power, and his lifetime average is well below what it was in his best years, Wallace had plenty to offer to his teams.

“’The Scot was not the most robust hitter that ever lived, but he was no pigeon at the plate,’ sportswriter Bill Corum said, in 1952. ‘Save for that, Bobby had one weakness as a shortstop – that was that he played in the same era as Honus Wagner.’

“Wallace made more plays per game than any other shortstop who played at least 600 games during the first decade of the major leagues, including players like Wagner, Joe Tinker and George Davis.” There have many great shortstops in baseball’s long history, but this era sure got its share of them.

wagner3SS-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 27 Years Old

1899 1900

.353, 6 HR, 126 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-126

Stolen Bases-49

3rd Time All-Star-Wagner, the greatest shortstop of all time, made his third All-Star team, but it’s his first at his most known position. After years as a centerfielder (1897), first baseman (1898), third baseman (1899), and rightfielder (1900), manager Fred Clarke finally tried out the Flying Dutchman at short and he’d be there for a while. At his new position, Wagner had another outstanding season, finishing eighth in WAR (7.1); third in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind St. Louis’ shortstop Bobby Wallace (7.7) and leftfielder Jesse Burkett (7.1); second in Offensive WAR (6.8), trailing only Burkett (7.3); fourth in batting average (.353); fourth in on-base percentage (.417); sixth in slugging (.494); first in steals (49); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (159). In a stretch from 1900-12, it was his lowest finish in overall WAR. Oh, and he won his first league championship.

Wikipedia says, “In 1901, the American League began to sign National League players, creating a bidding war, which depleted the league of many talented players. Wagner was offered a $20,000 contract by the Chicago White Sox, but turned it down and continued to play with the Pirates.” Meanwhile SABR says, “Led by Wagner, the 1901 Pirates began a three-year stranglehold over the National League. Their 90-49 record was 7½ games better than the Philadelphia Phillies, with Wagner’s 126 RBIs the major-league best for the decade.

“Wagner had primarily played shortstop in 1901, especially after the Pirates’ longtime shortstop Bones Ely jumped to the American League.” Oh, and one last accomplishment, his third All-Star team puts him in my Hall of Fame.

davis6SS-George Davis, New York Giants, 30 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899 1900

.301, 7 HR, 65 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

6th Time All-Star-Even with Honus Wagner and Bobby Wallace having such dominant seasons, it was impossible to leave Davis off of the All-Star team. He now just turned 30 and already made his sixth of these lists and he’s got a few more coming. Playing in an era of great shortstops, Davis held his own. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.9); ninth in Offensive WAR (4.7); and fifth in Defensive WAR (1.1). He was an all-around good player.

Davis also managed the team, but didn’t have as much success in that. The Giants moved from last in 1900 to seventh this season, but their record was worse at 52-85. Despite having Christy Mathewson, New York, as a team, didn’t pitch well, and despite the bat of their manager, the Giants didn’t hit well either.

The shortstop was another one who would be making the leap to the new league, according to SABR, which says, “After a horrid 52-85 1901 season, it was apparent Davis would not be returning as manager of New York and like many other players at the time, he ignored the reserve clause and signed a contract with the White Sox drawn up by his lawyer, John Montgomery Ward. Freedman did not contest the move because he wanted to replace Davis anyway.” Or as the Chicago Tribune reported, “George Davis, former manager and Captain of the New York club and shortstop-elect of Chicago’s champions, was in the city yesterday in conference with President Comiskey of the White Stockings, and the announcement was officially made that he had signed a contract to play her next season.”

burkett6

LF-Jesse Burkett, St. Louis Cardinals, 32 Years Old

1893 1895 1896 1899 1900

.376, 10 HR, 75 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

1901 NL Batting Title (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-7.3

Batting Average-.376 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.440

Games Played-142 (2nd Time)

At Bats-601 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-673 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-142 (2nd Time)

Hits-226 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-306 (2nd Time)

Singles-181 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-181

Runs Created-132

Adj. Batting Runs-62

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4

Times on Base-295 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.827

Def. Games as OF-142 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-This year proved to be a great one for leftfielders as five of the eight teams have one of them on this list. The best of them was the perpetually angry Jesse Burkett, who had his best season ever. He finished sixth in WAR (7.1); second in WAR Position Players (7.1), behind teammate and shortstop Bobby Wallace (7.7); first in Offensive WAR (7.3); first in batting average (.376); first in on-base percentage (.440); fourth in slugging (.509); first in Adjusted OPS+ (181); and, of course, first in a slew of categories mentioned above. With the talent pool lessened somewhat by the emergence of the American League, Burkett took full advantage.

Guess where Burkett ended up in 1902? Yep, the American League. You’re such a good guesser! A book called Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Little Known Members of the Hall of Fame, written by David L. Fleitz, says, “After [John] McGraw and [Wilbert] Robinson bolted for the new league in 1901, the Cardinals returned to a semblance of normality as Jesse Burkett put together one of his finest seasons. He batted .382 in 1901 and  won the National League batting title for the third time. He also led the circuit in games played, times at bat, runs, and hits as the Cardinals bounced up to fourth place. His performance made Jess a desirable property for the American League, which moved its Milwaukee franchise to St. Louis in the fall of 1901. The new St. Louis Browns ballclub, managed by Jesse’s old Cleveland teammate Jimmy McAleer, then made offers to several of the Cardinal stars. On October 20, 1901, Jesse, Bobby Wallace, and five other Cardinal players signed contracts with the Browns.”

delahanty8LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 33 Years Old, 1901 ONEHOF Inductee

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

.354, 8 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

On-Base Plus Slugging-.955 (4th Time)

Doubles-38 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (4th Time)

8th Time All-Star-After years of great power hitting and being the star of the Phillies for over a decade, Big Ed Delahanty has been inducted into the ONEHOF, the One-a-Year Hall of Fame, in which the best player not currently in the ONEHOF, as determined by me, is allowed into that prestigious group. For 1902, the nominees are: King Kelly, Hardy Richardson, Charley Jones, Fred Dunlap, George Gore, Ned Williamson, Bid McPhee, Sam Thompson, Jack Clements, Amos Rusie, Cupid Childs, Jake Beckley, and Clark Griffith.

Delahanty also has made the All-Star team more times as a leftfielder than anyone before him. You can see the whole list at Kid Nichols’ blurb.

After not making this list in 1900, Delahanty came back with an outstanding season, finishing 10th in WAR (6.6); fifth in WAR Position Players (6.6); third in Offensive WAR (6.5), behind St. Louis leftfielder Jesse Burkett (7.3) and Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner (6.8); second in batting average (.354), trailing Burkett (.376); third in on-base percentage (.427), lagging behind Burkett (.440) and teammate, centerfielder Roy Thomas (.437); second in slugging (.528), behind only fellow leftfielder, Brooklyn’s Jimmy Sheckard (.534); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (174), with only Burkett (181) ahead of him.

Delahanty is off to the American League next season and became one of the main recruiters for the new league, according to SABR, which says, “Indeed, during the final two months of the 1901 season, reports circulated that Delahanty had become an agent for the upstart league, selling his fellow players on the merits of the new circuit. Delahanty’s success can be measured by the number of players for the 1901 Phillies who donned uniforms for the American League the following year— — a total of nine players, including Elmer Flick, Red Donahue, Ed McFarland, Monte Cross, Harry Wolverton, Al Orth, and Delahanty himself, who signed a $4000 contract with the Washington Senators, including a $1000 signing bonus.”

sheckard

LF-Jimmy Sheckard, Brooklyn Superbas, 22 Years Old

.354, 11 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Slugging %-.534

Triples-19

Power-Speed #-16.7

Range Factor/Game as OF-2.50

1st Time All-Star-Samuel James Tilden “Jimmy” Sheckard was born on November 23, 1878 in Upper Chanceford, PA. In a league bereft with great leftfielders, another young man joined the fray. He started with Brooklyn as a backup shortstop in 1897, before moving to the outfield in 1898. In 1899, he played with Baltimore in that team’s last season, and came back to Brooklyn in 1900, where he was part of a championship team. This season, Sheckard punched it into high gear from the plate, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (6.4); fourth in Offensive WAR (6.1); third in batting average (.354), behind only fellow leftfielders, St. Louis’ Jesse Burkett (.376) and Philadelphia’s Ed Delahanty (.354); sixth in on-base percentage (.409); first in slugging (.534); sixth in stolen bases (35); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (169), trailing only Burkett (181) and Delahanty (174). And there are still two leftfielders to go on this list!

Baseball Reference states, “His 1901 season was notable, as he hit .354 with substantial power and drove in 104 runs. He led the league in slugging percentage. He also hit grand slams in consecutive days, an amazing feat, especially in the Deadball Era. It would be 77 years until another National Leaguer, Phil Garner, matched the accomplishment.”

If you’re wondering where Sheckard’s long given name comes from, our friends at SABR, as usual, have the answer: “Tilden Sheckard was born on November 23, 1878, in Upper Chanceford, York County, Pennsylvania. His full name reflected his father’s admiration for New York’s anticorruption governor Samuel Tilden, who lost one of the most controversial elections in American history two years before Jimmy was born.”

hartsel

LF-Topsy Hartsel, Chicago Orphans, 27 Years Old

.335, 7 HR, 54 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Tully Frederick “Topsy” Hartsel was born on June 26, 1874 in Polk, OH. The left-handed, tiny Topsy stood at five-foot-five and weighed in at only 155 pounds. He started with Louisville in 1898-99, moved to Cincinnati in 1900, but this was his first fulltime season. He made the best of it in his one season with Chicago, having his best season ever. Hartsel finished seventh in WAR Position Players (5.5), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.9), eighth in batting average (.335), fifth in on-base percentage (.414), seventh in slugging percentage (.475), second in stolen bases (behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner’s 49), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (161). All of that and he’s only the fourth best player at his position.

The Orphans stayed in sixth place with a 53-86 record. Tom Loftus managed the team for his second and final season with Chicago. Its problem was star power as Hartsel was the only Orphan to make this list.

SABR explains his nickname: “It was at Indianapolis that Tully Frederick Hartsel acquired the nickname Topsy. Hal Reid, an Indianapolis sportswriter, noted the young Hartsel’s white hair, eyebrows and lashes, pink complexion and light blue eyes and remarked, ‘Say, boy, you’re as light as Topsy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is black.’ He was known as Topsy for the rest of his life, and still is to this day. One observer later remarked that Hartsel was ‘generally known by the fans when he steps to the plate by his shock of white hair.’”

clarke3

LF-Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

1895 1897

.324, 6 HR, 60 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

3rd Time All-Star-This was a great year for Clarke, as he not only made the All-Star team as a player, but won the league title as a manager. He came to Pittsburgh in 1900 after Louisville folded, taking over the managerial role at the age of 27. After finishing second that season, four-and-a-half games behind Brooklyn, Pittsburgh won it all this year, moving into first place on June 11 and never giving up its lead the rest of the season. The Pirates were an all-around good team, with the best pitching in the league led by Jack Chesbro and great hitting led by Honus Wagner.

Clarke also performed on the field, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (5.0), 10th in on-base percentage (.395), ninth in slugging (.461), and ninth in Adjusted OPS+ (144).

Cap’s Hall of Fame page tells of the rarity of one so young coaching a team, saying, “Twenty-four year-olds are not often found in leadership positions, but at that age, Fred Clarke fit right in as a player and skipper of a major league club.

“As one of the first ‘boy-managers’ Clarke starred in left field and led his teams to win from the field and the dugout.

“’I tell you managing a team from the bench is far different from directing from the field,’ he said. ‘I would much rather be a playing manager not only because I like to play ball, but because when I am in there playing my mind is on the game, and not filled with the perplexities and troubles of the manager.’”

flick3RF-Elmer Flick, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1898 1900

.333, 8 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists as OF-23

3rd Time All-Star-Now that Honus Wagner moved from rightfield to shortstop, Flick moved to the top of the list as the National League’s best player at that position. He finished ninth in WAR (6.6), fourth in WAR Position Players (6.6), eighth in Offensive WAR (5.2), ninth in batting average (.333), eighth in on-base percentage (.399), fifth in slugging (.500), 10th in stolen bases (30), and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (158). But, like so many of these players above, the lure of the American League tempted and snagged Flick.

Flick’s Hall of Fame page tells how his baseball life started, stating, “In 1891, a 15-year old Elmer Flick went down to the train station to give his hometown semi-professional baseball team in Bedford, Ohio a send-off. With the train ready to leave and only eight players present, someone asked the youngster to join them. Despite being barefoot, Flick jumped at the opportunity – and a Hall of Fame career began.

“Born on Jan. 11, 1876 in Bedford, Flick starred as a catcher for his high school team, but didn’t join real organized baseball until he made his debut with Youngstown, Ohio, in 1896. ‘In my first game for Youngstown, I hit a ninth-inning homer with one on to win, 2-1,’ said Flick. ‘That’s when they first started to call me ‘Elmer Flick, the demon of the stick’.’”

Flick, SABR lets us know, was also a fighter: “For example, twice in a game in 1899, he got angry at Nap Lajoie for going back into shallow right field to catch fly balls that Flick thought should have been his chances.  Then, during a game in 1900, he and Lajoie got into a fistfight over who owned a bat.  Despite giving away at least four inches and about 30 pounds to the larger Lajoie, Flick held his own and settled for a draw when Lajoie, missing with a punch, struck a grate, a wall, or a washstand (the sources disagree) and broke his thumb.”

crawford

RF-Sam Crawford, Cincinnati Reds, 21 Years Old

.330, 16 HR, 104 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs-16

AB per HR-32.2

1st Time All-Star-Samuel Earl “Wahoo Sam” Crawford was born on April 18, 1880 (the first All-Star I’ve written about to be born in the 1880s) in Wahoo, NE. The big lefty stood at six-foot, 190 pounds and started with the Reds in 1899. He would go on to have a great career as the triple master, finishing as the all-time leader in that category. This season, Wahoo Sam finished 10th in WAR Position Players (4.8); sixth in Offensive WAR (5.3); third in slugging (.524), behind two leftfielders, Brooklyn’s Jimmy Sheckard (.534) and Philadelphia’s Ed  Delahanty (.528); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (167). If he stayed on the Reds, he might have been their greatest player of all-time, but he’s going to the American League in 1903 and will eventually be teaming up with someone of note, Ty Cobb.

It should be noted those 16 homers are the only time Wahoo Sam would ever hit double digit home runs, as the Deadball Era takes over the baseball world. Also, 12 of those 16 were of the inside-the-park variety.

The SABR article, written by Bill Lamberty, has much to say of this strong man. Here’s a snippet: “’While we are no sculptor, we believe that if we were and were looking for a model for a statue of a slugger we would choose Sam Crawford for that role,’ F.C. Lane of Baseball Magazine wrote in 1916. ‘Sam has tremendous shoulders and great strength. That strength is so placed in his frame and the weight so balanced that he can get it all behind the drive when he smites a baseball.’ Yet Crawford was much more than a one-dimensional slugger. Playing in the era’s cavernous parks, Crawford had to leg out even the longest of his drives.”

1900 National League All-Star Team

ONEHOF-Buck Ewing, C

P-Cy Young, STL

P-Bill Dinneen, BSN

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Joe McGinnity, BRO

P-Deacon Phillippe, PIT

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Sam Leever, PIT

P-Kid Nichols, BSN

P-Ned Garvin, CHC

P-Brickyard Kennedy, BRO

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Chief Zimmer, PIT

1B-Jake Beckley, CIN

2B-Nap Lajoie, PHI

3B-John McGraw, STL

SS-George Davis, NYG

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Jesse Burkett, STL

LF-Kip Selbach, NYG

LF-Joe Kelley, BRO

CF-Billy Hamilton, BSN

CF-George Van Haltren, NYG

RF-Honus Wagner, PIT

RF-Elmer Flick, PHI

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO

 

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

1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1888 1889 1890

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Wins Above Replacement-7.3 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-7.5 (4th Time)

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

Shutouts-4 (4th Time)

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

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

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

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

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

dinneen2

P-Bill Dinneen, Boston Beaneaters, 24 Years Old

1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Wild Pitches-11

Adj. Pitching Runs-32

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.0

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

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

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

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

hahn2

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 21 Years Old

1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-132 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-4

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

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

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

mcginnity2

P-Joe McGinnity, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28 (2nd Time)

Win-Loss %-.778

Innings Pitched-343

Bases on Balls-113

Hit By Pitch-40

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

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

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

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

phillippe

P-Deacon Phillippe, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

griffith6

P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 30 Years Old

1894 1895 1897 1898 1899

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as Pioneer/Executive)

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

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

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

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

leever

P-Sam Leever, Pittsburgh Pirates, 28 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.077

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

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

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

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

nichols10

P-Kid Nichols, Boston Beaneaters, 30 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

13-16, 3.07 ERA, 53 K, .200, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Shutouts-4

10th Time All-Star-Maybe the most shocking thing to happen in 1899 was that Kid Nichols, for the first time in nine years, didn’t make the All-Star team. It’s not like his season was terrible. He finished 21-19 with a 2.99 ERA. As a matter of fact, if I would’ve predicted a year in which he wouldn’t make the All-Star team, it would have been this one. Yet here he is, continuing to plug along as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

Nichols didn’t finish in the top 10 in WAR this season, for the first time ever. He did finish seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7), 10th in ERA (3.07), and fifth in Adjusted ERA+ (134). It was one of those seasons in which won-loss record doesn’t tell the story.

SABR talks about his decline this year, saying, “In 1900, Nichols was hampered significantly for the first time in his career by an injury, suffered in late April, and he ended up with his first losing season as a pro, at 13-16. Still, his ERA of 3.07 was better than his 3.52 mark of the 1893 championship year and the next two seasons after that. The most notable difference in his performance was that his strikeouts dropped considerably from the previous season.

“Near the turn of the century Nichols spent the closing weeks of successive preseasons coaching collegiate players along the East Coast, at Amherst (1899), Yale (1900), and Brown (1901). He received an offer from Brown again for 1902, but in mid-December of 1901 a shakeup in the Western League provided Nichols an opportunity to co-own and manage that circuit’s Kansas City club, which were known as the Blue Stockings under Nichols—while the Blues name shifted to a rival franchise across town in the newly formed American Association.”

garvin

P-Ned Garvin, Chicago Orphans, 26 Years Old

10-18, 2.41 ERA, 107 K, .154, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

1st Time All-Star-Virgil Lee “Ned” Garvin was born on New Year’s Day, 1874 in Navasota, TX. He started his career pitching two games with Philadelphia in 1896. The Phillies then traded him to Wilmington of the Atlantic League. Chicago purchased him from Reading of the Atlantic league in July of 1899. This season was his best season ever as he finished ninth in WAR for Pitchers (4.4); second in ERA (2.41), behind only Pittsburgh’s Rube Waddell (2.37); and second in Adjusted ERA+ (149), trailing only Waddell (153). His 10-18 record wasn’t indicative of how well he pitched.

After this season, Garvin moved around for the rest of his short career. He pitched for the American League Milwaukee Brewers (1901), the AL Chicago White Sox (1902), the National League Brooklyn Superbas (1902-04), and the AL New York Highlanders (1904). He would finish with a 58-97 record with a 2.72 ERA and a 124 ERA+. He never had a winning season, with his best season, won-loss wise, being 1902 when he finished 11-11.

An article from The National Pastime Museum says, “Bill James once dubbed Virgil ‘Ned’ Garvin ‘the tough luck pitcher of the decade [1900–1910], if not the hard luck pitcher of all time,’ and it’s easy to see why. His earned run average was better than league average in each of his six full seasons (he played in seven seasons but tossed only 13 innings in his rookie year), and three times it was outstanding—he finished second in ERA in 1900 and 1904 and fifth in 1902. Yet he went only 58–97 with six different teams, a winning percentage of only .374.”

kennedy4

P-Brickyard Kennedy, Brooklyn Superbas, 32 Years Old

1893 1897 1898

20-13, 3.91 ERA, 75 K, .301, 0 HR, 15 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

4th Time All-Star-If Ned Garvin was a hard luck pitcher with a poor won-loss record and a great ERA, then Kennedy was the opposite. Because he pitched on the champion Superbas, he had a great 20-13 record despite a poor ERA. He finished ninth in innings pitched (292), but was below league average in ERA as indicated by ERA+ (97). This would be Kennedy’s last full season. Brickyard pitched for Brooklyn in 1901, the Giants in 1902, and the Pirates in 1903. He also pitched in the first official World Series in his last season. Wikipedia says, “In 1903, Kennedy went 9–6 in 18 starts for the Pirates team that won the National League pennant. On his 35th birthday, Kennedy pitched in the first World Series. In Game Five, with Pittsburgh up three games to one, Kennedy faced Cy Young and the Boston Americans. Kennedy and Young each pitched five scoreless innings, until Honus Wagner committed two errors and Boston scored six runs. After giving up another four runs in the seventh, Kennedy was replaced and did not pitch again in the majors.” He would have a total of three pennants in his 12-year career.

This season, SABR says, “On August 31, 1900, he issued free passes to a National League record six consecutive hitters in the course of a 9-4 loss to Philadelphia and finished his career having walked the most batters (1,203) of any pitcher with fewer than 800 strikeouts (799). His volatile temper, argumentative nature and erratic control were nonetheless tolerated because his live fastball was nearly unhittable on days when he was right.”

mcfarland3

C-Ed McFarland, Philadelphia Phillies, 26 Years Old

1898 1899

.305, 0 HR, 38 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as C-93

Assists as C-137 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-171

Caught Stealing as C-120 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as C-.963

3rd Time All-Star-It wasn’t easy to be a catcher in the era in which McFarland toiled, which is why 93 games catching led the league. The equipment was poor and the position, like nowadays, was grueling day-after-day. Still, McFarland had his best season ever, finishing eighth in Defensive WAR (0.7). And he was competing against defenders who played the full 140-game season.

Philadelphia stayed in third place, with Bill Shettsline leading the Phillies to a 75-63 record, eight games out of first place. As per usual for the team, it had the league’s best hitting and the National League’s worst pitching. If this team could have had even a smidge better personnel on the mound, who knows how many pennants it could have won.

Catcher is the hardest position in which to predict future All-Star teams. My guess would be McFarland is done making them, but who knows. He would never catch over 80 games in a season again and finished his career with Philadelphia (1901), the American League Chicago White Sox (1902-07), and the AL Boston Red Sox (1908).

When the AL started next season, SABR says, “McFarland was a target for acquisition by the American League when it began in 1901, particularly by the new team in town, the Philadelphia Athletics. He may even have signed briefly with Connie Mack’s new team. A news story in mid-March said, ‘Eddie McFarland may be turned back to the local National League club because of his reported dissatisfaction.’ He played again with the Phillies, in 74 games. When he did play, he was more or less as effective as before, hitting .285 and with a proportionate number of runs scored and runs batted in.”

zimmer2

C-Chief Zimmer, Pittsburgh Pirates, 39 Years Old

1892

.295, 0 HR, 35 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Putouts as C-318 (2nd Time)

Oldest-39 Years Old

2nd Time All-Star-It doesn’t happen very often, but the oldest player in the league made the All-Star team. It was his first appearance on this list since 1892, when Zimmer was a catcher for  the now-defunct Cleveland team. He played with them through 1899, then went to Louisville that season. After the Colonels folded, Zimmer ended up on Pittsburgh where he had a decent year. He finished eighth in Defensive WAR (0.7), despite playing only 82 games. Chief would play two more seasons with the Pirates, before finishing off his career with Philadelphia in 1903 at the age of 42. It’s incredible to play 19 seasons at any position, but absolutely amazing to do it at catcher.

Zimmer’s reputation as a defensive catcher stands to this day. Wikipedia states, “Zimmer is regarded by some as ‘the finest defensive catcher of his day.’ Baseball historian Bill James picked Zimmer as the catcher both for his 1890s Gold Glove team and his 1890s All-Star team, and as the 62nd best catcher of all time. From 1889 to 1900, Zimmer was regularly among his league’s leaders in putouts, assists, double plays, fielding percentage and games played at catcher.”

Wikipedia also notes he was an innovator, saying, “Zimmer is also credited with being the first catcher, in 1887, to play from a squatting position directly behind the plate on every play. In prior years, catchers had played further behind the plate often standing, particularly with runners on base.” He also put a piece of beefsteak in his glove to protect his hand.

beckley6

1B-Jake Beckley, Cincinnati Reds, 32 Years Old

1889 1890 1891 1893 1894

.341, 2 HR, 94 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

6th Time All-Star-It has been six years since Beckley made an All-Star team, meaning he made none of them during the time most baseball players reach their prime. Since his last appearance on this list, Eagle Eye played for Pittsburgh (1895-96) and New York (1896-97), before coming to the Reds in 1897. Though he didn’t make the All-Star teams from 1895-99, he still managed to be consistent and do Beckley-type things, hitting for average and flashing good leather, though that aspect of his game was declining. This year, Beckley finished sixth in WAR Position Players (4.3); sixth in Offensive WAR (4.0); and sixth in batting average (.341). He’s probably got a couple All-Star seasons left.

SABR says of his career with the Reds, “For seven years Beckley played first base for the Reds, batting over .300 in every season except 1898. His career nearly ended on May 8, 1901, when Christy Mathewson hit him in the head with a fastball, knocking him unconscious for more than five minutes. Beckley recovered, missing only two games, and hit .307 for the last-place Reds that season. He was ‘Old Eagle Eye’ by then, but still a solid run producer with good range and quick reflexes on defense. His only weakness remained his poor throwing arm, and National League base runners always knew they could take an extra base on him. Beckley once fielded a bunt and threw wildly past first base. He retrieved the ball himself and saw the runner rounding third and heading for home. Rather than risk another bad throw, Jake raced the runner to home plate and tagged him in time for the out.”

lajoie2

2B-Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1897

.337, 7 HR, 92 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as 2B-69

Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.12

Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.16

Fielding % as 2B-.954

2nd Time All-Star-Lajoie made his first All-Star team as a second sacker this season after moving to that position in 1898. Except for 1911, that would be his main position the rest of his career. Because his offensive stats are so monstrous, people might not care about his defense, but he actually had a good glove throughout his career. As for this season, Lajoie finished seventh in WAR Position Players (4.3); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7); seventh in batting average (.337); third in slugging (.510), behind Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (.573) and teammate Elmer Flick (.545); and sixth in Adjusted OPS+ (141). He is an offensive force at this time, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Wikipedia writes of his last few seasons, “Later in 1898, new manager George Stallings moved Lajoie to second base, commenting that ‘[Lajoie would] have made good no matter where I positioned him.’

“Lajoie hit .363 and led the NL in slugging percentage in 1897 and doubles and RBIs in 1898. He had a .378 batting average in 1899, though he played only 77 games due to an injury. In 1900, he missed five weeks due to a broken thumb suffered in a fistfight with teammate Elmer Flick.”

And on Lajoie’s move to the American League: “John Rogers, described as a ‘penny-pinching’ majority owner of the Phillies, assured Lajoie that he would make the same salary as Delahanty. However, Lajoie discovered that while he was earning $2,600 ($74,849 in current dollar terms), Delahanty earned $3,000 ($86,364 in current dollar terms) (contracts for NL players were not allowed to surpass $2,400). Rogers increased Lajoie’s pay by $200 but the damage had already been done. ‘Because I felt I had been cheated, I was determined to listen to any reasonable American League offer’, Lajoie said.” Lajoie would break the bank if he played nowadays.

mcgraw5

3B-John McGraw, St. Louis Cardinals, 27 Years Old

1893 1895 1898 1899

.344, 2 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

On-Base %-.505 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-One of the unusual things about McGraw, the ballplayer, is how few games he actually played. He never played over 143 games and only three times played 120 or more. This season, Mugsy played in only 99 of St. Louis’ 140 games, yet still played good enough ball to make the All-Star team. Next season, he’s going to play 73 games for the American League Baltimore Orioles and still have a good shot at making this list. He looks like he’s going to fall just short of making Ron’s Hall of Fame.

McGraw finished sixth in WAR (5.3) and I want to stop there for a second. Though he played only 70 percent of his team’s games, only five players in the league had a better WAR. His stretch of play from 1898-1900 was hard to match when he could actually be on the field. Back to the stats. Little Napoleon finished third in WAR Position Players (5.3), behind Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (6.5) and Philadelphia’s Elmer Flick (5.9); third in Offensive WAR (5.2), trailing Wagner (6.3) and Flick (6.3); fifth in batting average (.344); first in on-base percentage (.505); and third in Adjusted OPS+ (157), again behind Wagner (176) and Flick (173).

Mugsy played a big role in the formation of the American League. From Our Game, “John McGraw had been the Orioles’ player–manager in 1899, but when he got wind of the NL’s intent to drop Baltimore in 1900 he threatened to form an American League team with Ban Johnson and assist him in mounting a major league threat. Inability to secure a ballpark in time to open the 1900 season, however (Hanlon was no longer using the Union Grounds but he’d be damned if he’d let McGraw have it), doomed the AL franchise and did nothing for McGraw’s bargaining position. In mid-February he sheepishly re-upped as manager of the NL Orioles. Only two weeks later, however, the other shoe dropped at last, as the rumored contraction of Baltimore — along with Cleveland, Washington, and Louisville — was announced as fact. The syndicate clubs hoped that by consolidating their interests they could cut their losses, and by reducing the league to eight teams they might heighten interest in the pennant race … or at least conclude the season with only seven losing teams rather than eleven.” Read the whole thing.

davis5SS-George Davis, New York Giants, 29 Years Old

1893 1894 1897 1899

.319, 3 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.81 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.39 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.944 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Despite Davis’ mind-boggling career WAR (84.3), he doesn’t get much publicity. He wasn’t rowdy and his offensive stats don’t jump off the page. Davis also had the misfortune of playing many of his best seasons at the same time as Honus Wagner, who will eventually end up the game’s greatest shortstop. The other problem for Davis is he didn’t play on many winning teams, though that would not always be the case. He has some pennants and World Series victories in his future.

Davis finished ninth in WAR Position Players (4.0) and sixth in Defensive WAR (1.2). This was a typical Davis season, where he didn’t blow people’s minds offensively, but his contribution with the glove was so fantastic, he has no problem making these All-Star teams. Along with his fine play, he also managed the Giants, taking over for Buck Ewing, who had a 21-41 record. Davis actually led New York to a winning record in his stint at the helm (39-37), but the team still finished last with a 60-78 record. The team had decent hitting, but the second worst pitching in the league.

The Hall of Fame indicates how underrated Davis was, saying, “’Many ball players regard him as the best shortstop in the business; batting, base running and fielding considered.’ The Sporting News Supplements,1899.

“When he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998, George Davis was likely the best ballplayer you’d never heard of. But due to the dogged efforts of historians like Lee Allen and Walter Lipka, he finally received his due, a century after he made a name for himself as one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history.”

dahlen5SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 30 Years Old

1892 1896 1898 1899

.259, 1 HR, 69 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Assists-517 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-133

Assists as SS-517 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Ron’s Hall of Fame is based totally on stats. I don’t judge a man’s morals when it comes to entry onto that team or it would be a much smaller group indeed. Many of these 19th Century players were ruffians, brutes, and drunkards. They might have been gypsies, tramps, and thieves, also, for all I know. Bad Bill Dahlen won few accolades for his demeanor, but between the white lines, there has rarely been a shortstop as good. He’s a big part of the reason Brooklyn won its second straight National League title.

Dahlen finished second in Defensive WAR (1.5), behind only Pittsburgh shortstop Bones Ely (2.5). The difference is Bad Bill added some value offensively, while Ely provided very little with the bat.

The Sporting News has a lengthy article on Dahlen’s candidacy for election to the Hall of Fame on the Pre Integration ballot. Here is just a bit of it: “Longtime baseball researcher and author Bill James has said that with enough time, only statistics get remembered with players. This helps Dahlen, a lot. In his time, he received spotted coverage in the press and had the nickname ‘Bad Bill.’

“Granted, there’s some dispute among researchers about Dahlen’s reputation. When asked if character issues had delayed Dahlen’s candidacy, [baseball writer John] Thorn replied via email, ‘No; all that is mere dust and has been for a long while.’ Baseball historian and author David Nemec said, ‘There are certainly guys with worse character who are in the Hall of Fame. I don’t think he was that bad a guy.’”

burkett5

LF-Jesse Burkett, St. Louis Cardinals, 31 Years Old

1893 1895 1896 1899

.363, 7 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as OF-141 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF- 337

5th Time All-Star-One of the game’s surliest players made my Hall of Fame this year. He didn’t hit .400 like he had done two times previously, but it was still a great season, maybe his greatest thus far. Next season will be even better. Burkett finished seventh in WAR (5.3); fourth in WAR Position Players (5.3); and fourth in Offensive WAR (5.0); third in batting average (.363), behind Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (.381) and Philadelphia’s Elmer Flick (.367); sixth in on-base percentage (.429); sixth in slugging percentage (.474); and fourth in Adjusted OPS+ (151). Like I said, it was a great season, with a better one ahead.

Baseball Reference tells us Burkett was fast, stating, “In addition to his hitting, Burkett was also known for his speed, stealing 389 bases in his career. He also holds a record with 55 lifetime inside-the-park home runs. He was also a terrific bunter, who could lay down the ball wherever he wanted on the field. However, he was a liability in the field, posting a large number of errors in the outfield, something that was relatively common at that time.”

For a glimpse at the attitude of Burkett, take a look at this bit from SABR, which says, “Ever with a chip on his shoulder, Burkett felt he had been forgotten by the game he loved. After his election to the Hall of Fame in 1946, Burkett told a reporter, ‘It took them a long time and I thought they weren’t going to because everybody had forgotten me.’ Still unsparing in his judgments, even when it came to members of his own family, Burkett also told reporters that his greatest disappointment was that his son, Howard, who spent several years playing in the minor leagues, never reached the majors. ‘Curveball pitching is what beat him,’ Burkett told the New York Herald Tribune in 1947. ‘They never could get curves past me, but I guess the boy just didn’t have the knack.’”

selbach3LF-Kip Selbach, New York Giants, 28 Years Old

1897 1898

.337, 4 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Def. Games as OF-141

Double Plays Turned as OF-8

3rd Time All-Star-Since last making the All-Star team for Washington in 1898, Selbach moved twice. He played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1899, then moved to the Giants this season. He had his best season ever, finishing eighth in WAR (5.1), fifth in WAR Position Players (5.1), fifth in Offensive WAR (5.0), eighth in batting average (.337), seventh in on-base percentage (.425), seventh in slugging (.461), eighth in stolen bases (36), and fifth in Adjusted OPS+ (149). Selbach would start declining after this season, but his 1900 season is still pretty good.

How did Selbach end up on the Giants? It’s baffling, according to SABR, which says, “How he had come to New York was, as late as September, still a mystery: ‘No one knows the terms by which the New York Club secured Selbach and Hawley,’ Sporting Life wrote. ‘They both represented the outlay of considerable coin of the realm. Whether they were released outright or simply loaned for the year is not known. … Poor managerial judgment was responsible for his failure in red.’ Before the 1900 season Selbach and pitchers Pink Hawley and Jack Taylor had been asked by Brush to take a pay cut rather than receive a raise, because – Brush said – his salaries were based on efficiency, and none of the three had lived up to expectations. In Selbach’s case, it was said to be a cut from $2,400 to $1,800. He wasn’t buying it. In the last week of March, near the end of spring training, Selbach signed with the Giants. There were several suggestions in print that he’d been loaned out, or some other deal had been made but Brush denied it.”

kelley5LF-Joe Kelley, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

1894 1895 1896 1897

.319, 6 HR, 91 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

5th Time All-Star-In the history of baseball, there have been 19,061 Major League players and only 228 of those players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (not counting the Negro League inductees). That is a percentage of one-point-two, which makes sense. There should be a huge pool of good and mediocre players, but only one out of hundred should be considered great enough to make the Hall of Fame. Joe Kelley happens to be one of those players and that’s no small feat. A group of baseball experts decided he was one of the one percent of players of all time and that shouldn’t be disparaged. I actually have nothing against Kelley being in the Hall, there are certainly worse. But unless one of his next few seasons allows him to make my All-Star team, he’s not going to make it. And it’s going to be close, with next season being his best shot.

This season, Kelley finished fourth in slugging (.485) and seventh in Adjusted OPS+ (138), while helping lead Brooklyn to its second consecutive league title – Kelley’s fifth. It’s no small feat to be a big part of five National League champions and, in four of five of those seasons, Kelley was good enough to make the All-Star team.

Wikipedia wraps up these last two seasons for Kelley, saying, “With McGraw remaining in Baltimore, Hanlon named Kelley team captain. The Superbas won the NL pennant in 1899 and 1900, as Kelley finished tenth in RBI (93), OBP (.410), and tied several players for tenth in home runs (6) in 1899 and led the team with a .319 batting average in 1900, while finishing fourth in the league in SLG (.485), tying Hickman for seventh in RBI (91), and tying Jimmy Collins and Buck Freeman for tenth in home runs (6).”

hamilton10

CF-Billy Hamilton, Boston Beaneaters, 34 Years Old

1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

.333, 1 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

10th Time All-Star-In 1899, Hamilton missed making the All-Star team for the first time after nine consecutive years of doing so. He only played 84 games which most likely accounted for it, but he also had his weakest hitting season since his rookie year in 1888. He’s back this season and has probably made the All-Star team for the last time. Next season will be his last.

Sliding Billy finished eighth in WAR Position Players (4.2); ninth in Offensive WAR (3.7); ninth in batting average (.333); and third in on-base percentage (.449), behind St. Louis’ John McGraw (.505) and Philadelphia’s Roy Thomas (.451). Hamilton’s skills were declining, but if you look at these stats, every player would take those in his fading years.

Here’s a wrap-up of his career from SABR: “Few observers paid attention to lifetime statistics and career records 100 years ago, but Billy Hamilton’s numbers marked him as one of the greats. He retired as baseball’s all-time leader in walks, a distinction he held until Eddie Collins passed him in 1922. His .344 career batting average is the eighth highest of all time, and his on-base percentage of .455 is surpassed only by Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and John McGraw. Hamilton’s career stolen bases, once recorded as 937 and later revised to 914, stood as a major league record until Lou Brock, who retired in 1979 with 938 steals (under different rules). During his 14 years in the majors, Billy scored 1,697 runs in 1,594 games, and his average of 1.06 runs per game is the highest figure ever recorded. Only three men (Hamilton and fellow 19th-century stars Harry Stovey and George Gore) scored more than one run per game during their careers, and no modern player has come close to matching the feat.”

vanhaltren3

CF-George Van Haltren, New York Giants, 34 Years Old

1889 1891

.315, 1 HR, 51 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Stolen Bases-45

Def. Games as OF-141 (4th Time)

Assists as OF-28 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Van Haltren incredibly is back after not making the All-Star team for nine seasons. He played for Baltimore and Pittsburgh in 1892, then the Pirates again in 1893. On November 16, 1893, the Giants purchased him from Pittsburgh for $2,500 and he’d remain with New York the rest of his career. This season, Van Haltren led the league in stolen bases with 45, quite a feat for a 34-year-old ballplayer. He’s 21st all-time in that category, pilfering 583 bags.

There are Hall of Fame arguments for Rip, mainly based on batting average and stolen bases, two stats inflated by the era in which he played. He was a good outfielder (hitting-wise) in an era with a lot of great outfielders, so I think he falls a bit short.

Bill Lamb of SABR writes, “Van Haltren’s death precipitated a brief West Coast push for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Contemporaries like Hugh Duffy, Jim O’Rourke, and Tommy McCarthy had recently been summoned to Cooperstown, but Rip never got the call. His champions had to content themselves with the Hall’s acceptance of the silver-encased bat awarded Rip in 1894, donated by his widow via the Oakland Old Timers Club. The bat still remained on display in 2011, a fitting reminder of George Van Haltren, an outstanding, if not quite immortal, 19th-century ballplayer.” If you use Tommy McCarthy as a baseline for players making the Hall of Fame, you’re opening up a floodgate, because he might be the worst player in Cooperstown.

wagner2

RF-Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 26 Years Old

1899

.381, 4 HR, 100 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 K

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1900 NL Batting Title

War Position Players-6.5

Offensive WAR-6.3

Batting Average-.381

Slugging %-.573

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.007

Total Bases-302

Doubles-45

Triples-22

Adjusted OPS+-176

Runs Created-129

Extra Base Hits-71

Offensive Win %-.832

2nd Time All-Star-This was the season that made the world say, “Wow!” and it’d be saying that for many years after. Interestingly, Wagner still isn’t at his usual position of shortstop. As it turns out, the Flying Dutchman played five different positions, but no shortstop. Yet, it was while there, he’d garner his most fame. This season, Wagner finished third in WAR (6.4), behind St. Louis’ Cy Young (7.3) and Boston’s Bill Dinneen (6.8); first in WAR Position Players (6.5); first in Offensive WAR (6.3); first in batting average (.381); fifth in on-base percentage (.434); first in slugging (.573); fifth in stolen bases (38); and first in Adjusted OPS+ (176). Incredibly, Wagner has better seasons to come. Also, most of his playing time comes during the deadball era. What would his stats looked like if he played in the ‘30s or even early 1890s.

As for how he ended up in Pittsburgh, SABR says, “National League officials reduced league membership from 12 teams to eight. The Louisville club was dissolved. Dreyfuss bought stock in the Pittsburgh Pirates and through clever maneuvering became president of the club. Replacing unproductive Pirates with top players from Louisville, including Wagner, Dreyfuss pushed the Pirates to second behind the Brooklyn Superbas in 1900. Wagner thanked Dreyfuss for bringing him home, hitting and slugging career-bests .381 and .573.”

SABR begins the article with, “’There ain’t much to being a ballplayer, if you’re a ballplayer,’ said the greatest player of his time, or most any other time – Honus Wagner. He may be the greatest player in National League history.”

flick2

RF-Elmer Flick, Philadelphia Phillies, 24 Years Old

1898

.367, 11 HR, 110 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Batted In-110

Adj. Batting Runs-56

Adj. Batting Wins-5.5

Power-Speed #-16.7

2nd Time All-Star-Philadelphia in the 1890s and 1900s must have had an outfielder machine, much like the machine Hugh Jackman’s character had in the movie, The Prestige, that just cloned good outfielder after good outfielder. Flick continued the legacy started by people like Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, and Sam Thompson with his own Hall of Fame career. In 1900, he finished fifth in WAR (5.9); second in WAR Position Players (5.9), behind only Pittsburgh’s Honus Wagner (6.5); second in Offensive WAR (6.3), again behind Wagner (6.3); second in batting average (.367), behind you-know-who (.381); fourth in on-base percentage (.441); second in slugging (.545), behind Wagner (.573); ninth in stolen bases (35); and second in Adjusted OPS+ (173), trailing the unstoppable Wagner (176). What an incredible pair of rightfielders the state of Pennsylvania had this season.

                Wikipedia says, “Before the 1900 season, Philadelphia stars Napoleon Lajoie and Ed Delahanty held out of renewing their contracts with the team. Other members of the team had grown disgruntled. Amid talk of a revival of the American Association, Flick and several other players began to talk about not returning to the team the next year. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Flick’s father was in the chair business in Cleveland and that he might require Flick’s help with the business. Flick agreed to a contract extension before the season started.

“The race for the batting title came down to the end of the season. The title winner, Honus Wagner, later said, ‘I’ve had a lot of thrills, but don’t think I was ever happier than in 1900 when I won after battling Elmer Flick to the last day of the season for the title.’”

keeler4

RF-Willie Keeler, Brooklyn Superbas, 28 Years Old

1895 1897 1899

.362, 4 HR, 68 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Hits-204 (3rd Time)

Singles-175 (4th Time)

AB per SO-140.8 (4th Time)

4th Time All-Star-As a Reds fan, I grew up rooting for Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, and, of course, Pete Rose. I never was as much of a Rose fan as I was a Bench one because I’ve always liked the home run. Rose was a singles hitter who hit for a high average and rarely struck out, much like Keeler. I’m not sure I would have been much of a Wee Willie fan either.

Say what you will about Keeler, he was a winner, now part of his fifth pennant-winning team. He finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.7), fourth in batting average (.362), 10th in on-base percentage (.402), 10th in slugging (.449), fourth in steals (41), and 10th in Adjusted OPS+ (130). It wasn’t his best season, but it was very good.

SABR says of this season, “Hanlon’s Superbas, bolstered by Jennings’ return from injury and the addition of pitcher Joe ‘Iron Man’ McGinnity, outdistanced Honus Wagner’s Pittsburgh Pirates by 4½ games in 1900 to repeat as National League champion. Keeler again finished fourth in batting with a .362 average, stole 41 bases, smacked four homers, and led the league with 140 runs and 204 hits, a number that brought his career total to 1,567 in 4,114 at-bats through the close of the 1900 season, a batting average of .381, the best in baseball in the 19th century. He also played in one game at second base, and handled his only chance cleanly.”  I forget that 1900 is still considered part of the 19th century.

1899 National League All-Star Team

P-Vic Willis, BSN

P-Joe McGinnity, BLN

P-Cy Young, STL

P-Jesse Tannehill, PIT

P-Jay Hughes, BRO

P-Frank Kitson, BLN

P-Noodles Hahn, CIN

P-Cy Seymour, NYG

P-Clark Griffith, CHC

P-Bill Dinneen, WHS

C-Ed McFarland, PHI

C-Ossee Schrecongost, CLV

1B-Fred Tenney, BSN

2B-Tom Daly, BRO

3B-John McGraw, BLN

3B-Jimmy Williams, PIT

3B-Honus Wagner, LOU

SS-Bobby Wallace, STL

SS-George Davis, NYG

SS-Bill Dahlen, BRO

LF-Ed Delahanty, PHI

LF-Jesse Burkett, STL

CF-Roy Thomas, PHI

RF-Chick Stahl, BSN

RF-Willie Keeler, BRO

 

willis

P-Vic Willis, Boston Beaneaters, 23 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

1899 NL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-10.2

WAR for Pitchers-10.5

Earned Run Average-2.50

Hits per 9 IP-7.275

Shutouts-5

Adjusted ERA+-165

Adj. Pitching Runs-61

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.9

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

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

mcginnity

P-Joe McGinnity, Baltimore Orioles, 28 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

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

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

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

young9

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

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: Yes

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

Led in:

 

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

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

Complete Games-40

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

Assists as P-117 (3rd Time)

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

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

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

tannehill2

P-Jesse Tannehill, Pittsburgh Pirates, 24 Years Old

1898

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

hughesj

P-Jay Hughes, Brooklyn Superbas, 25 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Wins-28

Win-Loss %-.824

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

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

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

kitson

P-Frank Kitson, Baltimore Orioles, 29 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

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

hahn

P-Noodles Hahn, Cincinnati Reds, 20 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts-145

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.88

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

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

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

seymour

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

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.763 (3rd Time)

Bases on Balls-170 (3rd Time)

Errors Committed as P-20 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

griffith5P-Clark Griffith, Chicago Orphans, 29 Years Old

1894 1895 1897 1898

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

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

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dinneen

P-Bill Dinneen, Washington Senators, 23 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:
ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

mcfarland2

C-Ed McFarland, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

1898

.333, 2 HR, 57 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Double Plays Turned as C-14

Passed Balls-32

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

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

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

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

schrecongost

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

.290, 2 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

tenney

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

.347, 1 HR, 67 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

 

Def. Games as 1B-150

Assists as 1B-99

Double Plays Turned as 1B-107

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

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

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

daly

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

.313, 5 HR, 88 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

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

Double Plays Turned as 2B-69

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

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

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

mcgraw43B-John McGraw, Baltimore Orioles, 26 years Old

1893 1895 1898

.391, 1 HR, 33 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No (Yes as manager)

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

 

Led in:

 

WAR Position Players-8.0

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

Runs Scored-140 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-124 (2nd Time)

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

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

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

williams

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

.354, 9 HR, 116 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Triples-27

Def. Games as 3B-153

Putouts as 3B-251

Errors Committed as 3B-67

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

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

wagner

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

.341, 7 HR, 114 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

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

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

wallace2

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

1898

.295, 12 HR, 108 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Assists-536

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

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

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

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

1893 1894 1897

.337, 1 HR, 59 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

Led in:

 

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-7.04

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

Fielding % as SS-.946

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

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

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

dahlen4

SS-Bill Dahlen, Brooklyn Superbas, 29 Years Old

1892 1896 1898

.283, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: Yes (Made it this season)

 

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

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

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

delahanty7LF-Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies, 31 Years Old

1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898

.410, 9 HR, 137 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

Ron’s: Yes

 

Led in:

 

Offensive WAR-7.7 (2nd Time)

Batting Average-.410

Slugging %-.582 (4th Time)

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

Hits-238

Total Bases-338 (2nd Time)

Doubles-55 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-137 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-191 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-156 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-74 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-7.2 (5th Time)

Extra Base Hits-73 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.860 (3rd Time)

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

 

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

C-Charlie Bennett (9)

1B-Cap Anson (13)

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

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

SS-Jack Glasscock (11)

LF-Ed Delahanty (7)

CF-Paul Hines (8)

RF-Sam Thompson (7)

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

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

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

burkett4

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

1893 1895 1896

.396, 7 HR, 71 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

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

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

thomas

CF-Roy Thomas, Philadelphia Phillies, 25 Years Old

.325, 0 HR, 47 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

Led in:

 

Times On Base-310

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

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

stahl

RF-Chick Stahl, Boston Beaneaters, 26 Years Old

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

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

 

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

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

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

keeler3RF-Willie Keeler, Brooklyn Superbas, 27 Years Old

1895 1897

.379, 1 HR, 61 RBI

Hall of Fames:

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes

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

 

Led in:

 

Runs Scored-140

Singles-190 (3rd Time)

AB per SO-285.0 (3rd Time)

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

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