Legendsport Leagues http://legendsport.com A Whole New Ballgame Fri, 27 Apr 2018 19:59:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 1906: Winds of Change http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/16/1906-winds-of-change/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:58:47 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=251 Read More]]> RECAP

In 1906 things began to change a bit around big league baseball. For one thing, the New York Giants, who had dominated the National League over the past several seasons, started off sluggishly and never fully recovered, opening the door for a change at the top of the Senior Circuit’s standings table. On the American League side, the Washington club – like New York the undisputed ruler of its circuit in recent seasons – began to see a change as well: star Harvey Cart lost his batting touch midseason and ended up finishing his final season (at age 34) on the bench, with a poor .236 average in less than 150 at-bats. He retired at year’s end with a .332 career average and 2836 hits.

Cart’s team did capture a fourth straight AL pennant, though it had to fight off a strong charge from the Cleveland Blues to do so. Cleveland boasted the league’s most potent attack led by youngsters Nat Caudle (.303 average), Henry Lazarus (.317) and Johnny Kirk (.318) all of whom are under 23 years of age. They just didn’t – quite – have the pitching that the Senators did. Washington won the pennant with the league’s second-best offense and stingiest defense – the Senators allowed 3.1 runs per game but their collective ERA (2.03) was higher than Cleveland’s (1.90) – the difference was the unearned runs caused by the Blues’ lackluster fielding.

The theme of the 1906 National League campaign was parity – 87 wins was good enough to win the pennant, and that’s what the Pittsburgh Pirates did, finishing four up on both Boston and New York, whose 83 wins were not good enough for another pennant.

Individual accolades for the 1906 campaign went to Pittsburgh’s Jeremiah Thiel as the top batsman in the National League. Thiel hit .314 for the league champions, with 29 doubles, 19 triples and 133 bases on balls. The American League’s top hitter was Cleveland’s Nat Caudle. Caudle scored 105 runs in a season where he hit .303 and recorded 21 doubles, 15 triples and 9 home runs while also stealing 67 bases. Top rookie honors went to Cleveland’s Henry Lazarus who recorded a .317 average in his freshman campaign. His National League counterpart as top rookies was Pittsburgh pitcher Nat Davis who recorded a 19-19 record with a 2.70 ERA for the league champions. Pitching honors went to Cardinal pitcher Tommy Powell (26-11, 1.51 ERA) in the National League and Cleveland’s Larry Singer (28-14, 1.58 ERA) in the American League.

The 1906 matchup for the World Championship was a good one. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators hooked up for what became arguably the best series in the short three-year history of the World’s Championship Series.

In game one, Pittsburgh traveled to Washington and immediately established their bona fides by jumping off to an immediate lead with a commanding 8-1 victory. This was all the more impressive in that the Pirates did this against Wes Luttier, Washington’s stellar pitcher, who entered the game coming off a season in which he posted a 25-12 record and 1.61 ERA. Pittsburgh’s Harry Francis (23-16, 2,34 ERA) allowed 1 run on 5 hits and even drove in a pair of runs with the bat.

In game two, the teams hooked up for an extra-innings nail-biter with the teams finishing nine frames tied at 1-1. In the 11th inning. Pittsburgh’s Cy Kennett’s one-out double started a two-run rally with RBI singles by John Albers and Johnny Mack against Shelley. In the home half, Washington pushed across a run of their own, but the game ended when third baseman Bob Mears grounded out to his opposite number to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 win and 2-0 series lead with the series shifting to Pittsburgh.

Game three saw the visiting team win for the third straight time. Washington bounced back with a 6-3 victory. Pat Krieger (20-18, 2.53) went the distance, allowing 14 hits, but just three runs for the victory while his opposite number Nat Davis also went the distance, allowing six runs (four earned) on 13 hits in a game in which his fielders committed four errors – with three of them by third baseman Dennis Stewart.

Washington sent Harlan Holladay (14-4, 2.00) to the mound for game four and he delivered an outstanding performance, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs in a game which his squad earned a 3-2 victory to knot the series at two games apiece. Pittsburgh’s Lewis Volk (20-8, 2.04) took the loss, although he also pitched well. Emory Howard was the hitting hero for Washington, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

The pivotal game five was novel – it was the first time in the series that the home team earned the victory. Pittsburgh’s 5-3 win put them one victory away from the World’s Championship in a rematch of the game one starting pitchers. Harry Francis improved to 2-0 on the World’s Series by allowing three runs on seven hits in a complete game. Wes Luttier was better than he was in his game one loss, allowing just two earned runs on five hits, but four critical errors by his fielders proved costly for Luttier and the Nats.

The series returned to the nation’s capital for game six – a must-win for the defending World’s Champions. Facing a win-or-go-home scenario, Washington pulled out a 4-2 victory to tie the series at three wins apiece and set up a game-seven showdown. Harry Shelley, who had taken the game two loss, bounced back with a vengeance allowing just 1 earned run on six hits.

In game seven, the Washington lineup vented its frustration on Pittsburgh’s Nat Davis, handing him his second loss of the series in an 8-2 victory behind solid pitching from Pat Krieger, who allowed no earned runs in a game which was a defensive travesty for both teams. Pittsburgh’s fielders committed six errors, but Washington’s defenders had seven of their own. Of the eight runs plated by Washington, only two were earned.

The victory gave Washington its second straight World’s Series victory, validating the American League’s claim of equality with the National League.

In the top level of minor league baseball, the Newark Sailors won a third-straight Eastern League title, again doing it with ease finishing 11 games up on their nearest competition. The American Association also boasted a multiple-repeating champ in Louisville. The Colonels captured their fourth consecutive flag, finishing 16 games ahead of Indianapolis. Former St. Louis Cardinal Paul Fairburn came over to lead the Colonels with a .341 average. And out west, the Pacific Coast League flag went to Portland where rookie outfielder Ned Jones was batter of the year with a .312 and a astounding 130 stolen bases.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team              	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Senators	97	57	.630	-	666	483
Cleveland Blues 	90	64	.584	7	690	574
Chicago White Sox	82	72	.532	15	633	603
New York Highlanders	81	73	.526	16	523	517
Boston Americans	77	77	.500	20	653	693
St. Louis Browns	66	88	.429	31	600	640
Philadelphia Athletics	65	89	.422	32	548	696
Detroit Tigers  	58	96	.377	39	538	645

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Pittsburgh Pirates	87	67	.565	-	656	582
Boston Beaneaters	83	71	.539	4	641	577
New York Giants 	83	71	.539	4	649	560
Chicago Cubs    	79	75	.513	8	667	661
Brooklyn Superbas	77	77	.500	10	638	651
St. Louis Cardinals	77	77	.500	10	668	662
Philadelphia Phillies	73	81	.474	14	575	629
Cincinnati Reds 	57	97	.370	30	547	719

LEADERS

 

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
R. Miller	WS1	.334
M. Swallow	BOS	.326
J. Kirk	        CLE	.318
H. Lazarus	CLE	.317
F. Dorsey	BOS	.316

Home Runs
A. Jackson	DET	12
Z. Bridges	CHA	11
N. Caudle	CLE	9
E. Howard	WS1	8
M. Swallow	BOS	8

Runs Batted In
A. Jackson	DET	88
G. Terry	WS1	88
M. Foley	BOS	84
J. Robinson	WS1	82
T. Petticrew	CLE	81

ERA
R. Dishman	CLE	1.52
L. Singer	CLE	1.58
W. Luttier	WS1	1.61
H. Shelley	WS1	1.76
H. von Loen	SLA	1.86

Wins
M. Long 	PHA	30
G. Merritt	BOS	30
D. Muir 	CHA	28
L. Singer	CLE	28
R. Dishman	CLE	27

Strikeouts
R. Dishman	CLE	277
L. Singer	CLE	267
G. Merritt	BOS	241
D. Muir 	CHA	240
M. Taylor	NYA	225
Batting AVG
E. Curl 	SLN	.354
M. Cumberledge	SLN	.333
F. Esterhouse	CHN	.327
D. White	NY1	.321
H. Harris	SLN	.320

Home Runs
E. Mays 	BRO	9
G. Myers	PIT	8
L. Faulkner	PHI	7
J. Kemp 	BSN	7
F. Esterhouse	CHN	6

Runs Batted In
F. Esterhouse	CHN	93
N. Eanes	PHI	85
S. Graves	BSN	84
H. Valentine	SLN	83
E. Mays 	BRO	82

ERA
A. Jones	SLN	1.36
T. Powell	SLN	1.51
H. Wagner	PHI	1.88
L. Volk 	PIT	2.04
G. Robertson	NY1	2.10

Wins
H. Bowman	CHN	30
T. Powell	SLN	26
S. Kilgore	BSN	25
D. Krueger	PHI	24
H. Francis	PIT	23

Strikeouts
T. Powell	SLN	290
R. Nester	CHN	222
H. Bowman	CHN	216
T. Hiatt	PIT	201
S. Kilgore	BSN	175
]]>
TBC Profile – Charlie Shanafelt http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/14/tbc-profile-charlie-shanafelt/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:43:43 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=232 Read More]]> Charles Robert Shanafelt was born in North Canton, Ohio on June 22, 1864. His father, Horace, a blacksmith by trade, was in the Union Army at the time, serving with General Sherman’s army as it “Marched to the sea.”

Young Charlie was a rambunctious child, often getting into mischief. He discovered base ball at an early age and it was a pursuit his father, who had played in the Army, approved of despite his mother Mary’s aversion to it. To Horace’s delight, not only did Charlie enjoy the game, but he also quickly demonstrated a high degree of skill as a batsman. By the time the lad was 12 he was playing with boys three and four years older than he and holding his own.

Charlie joined a barnstorming team at age 16 causing a huge fight between his parents – his mother forbade his leaving, but his father quietly handed the boy $20 and wished him luck. Leaving his mother in tears, Charlie joined his team, which had dubbed itself the Superbas and toured Ohio and Pennsylvania during the summer of 1881, celebrating his 17th birthday by hitting for the cycle in Harrisburg.

Later that summer, he was signed by York of the Pennsylvania League for the balance of the 1881 season and he also spent 1882 in the Penn League, hitting over .400 and ultimately drawing the attention of Ben Groves, who would sign him the next spring to play in the American Association for the New York Metropolitans.

In 1883 Charlie Shanafelt arrived in New York where he quickly showed himself to be a star in the making. He hit .350 to lead his club in batting. He also showed a penchant for breaking curfew and though his nightly excursions became legendary, they also earned him the moniker “Traveler” after his roommate, young catcher George Christian was asked where Shanafelt had gone and replied, “He’s out travelin’ – you know Charlie.”

Shanafelt may have been a nighttime wanderer, but it didn’t hurt his play in the days that followed. Charlie would play 21 seasons at baseball’s top level, spending three years with the Mets before he was sold to the National League’s New York Giants. After four years with the Giants, Shanafelt jumped to the Player’s League, but stayed in New York (presumably the plethora of nightly distractions made him a fan of New York City).

Where Shanafelt really made his mark though, was when the Player’s League experiment failed and he signed on with the Brooklyn club of the National League. Shanafelt became a fixture in center field with Brooklyn and spent ten years there, with yearly appearances amongst the league leaders in hits and batting average (as well as curfews broken). His ‘wandering’ ways led him to take a spot with the fledgling American League’s Milwaukee entry in 1901, but he spent just one unhappy year in the Midwest before returning to Brooklyn in 1902 and ending his career there in 1903 with a .334 lifetime average and a hit total of 3197, behind only Tom Ewart and Otto Bentz on the all-time list.

CAREER BATTING STATS
Year/Team/League	Age	G	AB	H	2B	3B	HR	RBI	R	BB	HP	SF	K	SB	CS	AVG	OBP	SLG	OPS	OPS+	wRC+	WAR
1883 New York (A) - MLB	18	96	403	141	17	8	3	45	82	32	5	4	25	22	11	.350	.401	.454	.855	168	161	5.0
1884 New York (A) - MLB	19	100	411	127	19	11	2	55	78	46	4	4	25	23	14	.309	.381	.423	.804	160	152	4.1
1885 New York (A) - MLB	20	106	413	119	18	16	2	55	87	55	9	0	20	31	13	.288	.384	.424	.807	151	145	4.2
1886 New York (N) - MLB	21	112	440	149	24	6	2	59	87	45	7	2	28	24	10	.339	.407	.434	.841	172	159	5.3
1887 New York (N) - MLB	22	120	493	197	15	17	4	94	116	53	12	5	3	34	20	.400	.465	.523	.989	164	158	5.0
1888 New York (N) - MLB	23	116	449	137	15	11	4	48	88	42	16	3	16	22	18	.305	.382	.414	.797	166	156	4.9
1889 New York (N) - MLB	24	126	503	180	16	14	0	93	95	69	19	10	15	37	25	.358	.446	.445	.891	173	162	5.9
1890 New York (A) - MLB	25	128	534	182	27	19	1	77	104	33	19	3	6	32	15	.341	.397	.468	.865	179	170	7.1
1891 Brooklyn (N) - MLB	26	137	545	205	24	21	6	91	156	60	28	7	13	31	21	.376	.458	.530	.988	206	194	8.4
1892 Brooklyn - MLB	27	111	447	150	29	20	5	82	87	50	10	5	9	38	55	.336	.410	.523	.934	168	153	2.1
1893 Brooklyn - MLB	28	132	529	171	18	22	5	85	102	78	9	5	21	35	72	.323	.415	.469	.884	143	134	1.2
1894 Brooklyn - MLB	29	132	552	190	26	28	13	117	128	78	18	7	18	46	45	.344	.437	.563	1.000	146	134	3.0
1895 Brooklyn - MLB	30	132	559	202	31	20	9	102	145	63	8	5	21	33	41	.361	.430	.537	.967	152	137	3.2
1896 Brooklyn - MLB	31	106	465	156	25	13	3	78	85	44	7	2	8	25	37	.335	.400	.465	.864	139	128	2.0
1897 Brooklyn - MLB	32	106	431	148	15	10	11	84	95	52	11	1	12	20	20	.343	.426	.501	.927	160	154	3.6
1898 Brooklyn - MLB	33	154	634	204	33	14	0	109	116	63	5	9	34	27	16	.322	.383	.418	.801	141	136	4.5
1899 Brooklyn - MLB	34	154	638	217	30	19	3	122	126	50	9	9	33	15	9	.340	.391	.461	.852	145	144	5.1
1900 Brooklyn - MLB	35	119	428	134	14	6	2	49	67	38	8	2	44	8	6	.313	.378	.388	.766	128	128	2.6
1901 Milwaukee - MLB	36	109	229	69	9	8	3	41	37	22	6	1	39	3	10	.301	.376	.450	.826	148	137	1.4
1902 Brooklyn - MLB	37	105	389	103	9	7	0	48	62	43	13	1	71	8	5	.265	.357	.324	.680	103	112	1.6
1903 Brooklyn - MLB	38	18	66	16	2	1	0	9	9	9	2	0	7	0	0	.242	.351	.303	.654	103	112	0.3
Total MLB		       2419	9558	3197	416	291	78	1543	1952	1025	225	85	468	514	463	.334	.408	.463	.872	156	148	80.6
]]>
1905 – Sweet Revenge http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/14/1905-sweet-revenge/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:38:34 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=228 Read More]]> RECAP

The 1905 season provided plenty of drama for the followers of the National and American Leagues. The pennant races were exciting and there were (as usual) several standout individual performances. And this time, as in 1903, there would be a World’s Series between the league champions at the end of the season. After the refusal by the New York Giants’ owner James Banner to allow his team to face the Washington Senators – a team the Giants had defeated in 1903 – the other National League owners made it known that henceforth the league’s champion would face the American League’s champion. There was too much money on the line.

But first – how about that 1905 National League pennant race? It was, almost without question, the best pennant race in the 30-year history of the National League. Not just two, but four clubs were in the chase for the championship flag right up until the final month of the season. The Cincinnati Reds, Boston Beaneaters, New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals swapped the lead back and forth between themselves for four months before the battle-tested Giants edged ahead and captured their fourth straight National League title.

The American League’s race was also tight, but was a two-team affair between the Washington Senators and Cleveland Blues. In the end the Senators were simply too powerful, as they won 110 games and marched into a rematch of the 1903 World’s Series with the New York Giants. The Senators featured two 30-game winners in Harlan Holladay and Wes Luttier, and were a well-balanced team which operated like a machine in dominating the American League.

But the Blues chased them heartily for more than half the season and finished with 94 victories – the same number of wins posted by the National League champion Giants. Cleveland was not as well-rounded as the Washington club, but did feature the best pitcher in all of base ball in 1905. Larry Singer, who grew up in nearby Mentor, Ohio, thrilled the Cleveland fans with the most dominating pitching performance in living memory. Singer’s earned run average was below one run for more than half the season. His April ERA was 0.55. In May it was 0.69 and in June it was 0.61 as he dominated opposing lineups. Though it rose to human levels in the summer months (1.43, 1.82, 1.67 in July, August and September respectively), he still finished with a 1.13 mark, one which many expect to remain the benchmark for a long time to come. In the end, Singer won 29 games and lost 13 and almost single-handedly kept his club in the pennant race.

Another pitcher made big news as well: Boston’s Stanley Sweetwater, the man who threw the first perfect game in history back in 1901, made 55 starts for the Beaneaters, compiling a 30-23 record to run his career victory total to 295. The workload may have proven too much for Sweets however, as he decided not to return to Boston in 1906, instead choosing to open a tavern in his hometown of Framingham, Massachusetts. He will be sorely missed.

The best teams in their respective leagues squared off for the rights to claim the title of World’s Champions in a best-of-seven series at the conclusion of their leagues’ championship seasons. The Washington Senators entered the series as three-time defending American League pennant-winners and boasting a 110-44 record in 1905. Their opponents brought credentials equally impressive: the Giants entered the series on the heels of their fourth-straight National League pennant and had defeated these same Senators in the first of these “World’s Series” in 1903. They had also famously refused to play them in 1904. So there was some bad blood to be sure.

With both teams boasting incredibly talented pitching, it was no surprise that both the first two games saw one team go scoreless. In the first game, the Senators’ Harlan Holladay baffled the Giants just as he had the American League all season long in his 33-victory campaign and Washington won a 4-0 decision. In game two, it was the Giants’ Aidan O’Day’s time to shine – and shine he did – in a showdown with 31-game winner Wes Luttier. O’Day allowed just one hit in a 1-0 shutout.

The series moved to New York for games three, four and five. Game three went to the Senators, 5-4, with catcher Garrett Terry driving in a pair of runs for the Senators on a 2-for-4 day in a game in which both lineups celebrated not facing terrific pitching and combined for 17 hits. Game four went to the Giants, in a 14-inning nail-biter that the home team won 6-5. The big news for New York, which would play a role later on, was that ace Fred McDonnell struggled in his nine and a third innings. Game Five saw the Senators bounce back behind Harlan Holladay who was again masterful in outdueling Aidan O’Day by a 2-1 margin.

For game six, the Giants would have liked to start McDonnell for the third time, but he was tired from his extra-inning effort in game four and unable to start. With Wes Luttier starting for the Senators, the Giants were forced to counter with Clive Hines. In the end, that would prove costly as Washington took the game 7-2 and won the Series, 4 games to 2, gaining revenge for their loss in 1903.

In the so-called “minor” leagues, the Newark Sailors repeated as champions of the Eastern League. Newark was led by first baseman Charlie Worley and his league-best .381 average and the strong pitching of Roger Stewart who was 27-7 with a 1.73 ERA (both second in the league). In the midwest, the American Association pennant was again won by the Louisville Colonels. The Kentucky club featured both the league’s top hitter (23-year-old Randolph Vaughan) and top pitcher (Don Hunsacker who posted a 1.26 ERA). And out west, the Pacific Coast League was won by the Seattle Siwashes, behind a pair of dominating pitchers: Frank Coil and Chuck Flinn. Coil is headed for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1906, while Flinn is presumably staying out west.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team	                W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Senators	110	44	.714	-	617	380
Cleveland Blues	        94	60	.610	16	577	436
Philadelphia Athletics	73	81	.474	37	511	573
St. Louis Browns	71	83	.461	39	509	552
Detroit Tigers    	70	84	.455	40	481	543
Boston Americans	69	85	.448	41	513	599
Chicago White Sox	69	85	.448	41	542	546
New York Highlanders	60	94	.390	50	447	568

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team	                W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Giants	        94	60	.610	-	603	426
Boston Beaneaters       89	65	.578	5	639	507
St. Louis Cardinals	88	66	.571	6	699	555
Cincinnati Reds  	83	71	.539	11	613	588
Brooklyn Superbas	74	80	.481	20	525	596
Chicago Cubs    	71	83	.461	23	555	656
Pittsburgh Pirates	62	92	.403	32	574	700
Philadelphia Phillies	55	99	.357	39	526	706

LEADERS

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
Z. Bridges	CHA	.321
J. Larson	PHA	.312
M. Foley	BOS	.305
R. Miller	WS1	.301
F. Johnson	PHA	.293

Home Runs
E. Howard	WS1	11
N. Caudle	CLE	9
E. Leeds	DET	8
J. Bell 	SLA	7
N. Madewell	PHA	7

Runs Batted In
J. Robinson	WS1	79
E. Howard	WS1	73
M. Pratt	SLA	73
G. Terry	WS1	72
F. Johnson	PHA	66

Wins
H. Holladay	WS1	33
W. Luttier	WS1	31
L. Singer	CLE	29
R. Dishman	CLE	24
P. Krieger	WS1	24

ERA
L. Singer	CLE	1.13
H. Holladay	WS1	1.28
W. Luttier	WS1	1.66
D. Alexander	PHA	1.71
G. Merritt	BOS	1.86

Strikeouts
L. Singer	CLE	269
R. Dishman	CLE	266
W. Luttier	WS1	239
F. Lyon 	CLE	226
D. Muir 	CHA	224
Batting AVG
F. Esterhouse	CHN	.345
C. Venables	CIN	.330
P. Murphy	SLN	.320
F. Dill  	CIN	.320
B. Roberts	BRO	.314

Home Runs
E. Mays  	BRO	12
B. Barbella	NY1	10
M. Crouse	PHI	9
F. Esterhouse	CHN	9
L. Faulkner	PHI	9

Runs Batted In
C. Venables	CIN	88
H. Valentine	SLN	85
F. Dill	        CIN	81
S. Graves	BSN	81
C. Kennett	PIT	81

Wins
S. Sweetwater	BSN	30
T. Powell	SLN	28
F. McDonnell	NY1	26
A. O'Day	NY1	25
T. Bellingham	CIN	24

ERA
F. McDonnell	NY1	1.33
T. Powell	SLN	1.77
A. O'Day	NY1	1.92
W. Marshall	BSN	1.97
C. Gaines	NY1	2.06

Strikeouts
F. Tannenbaum	CHN	285
T. Powell	SLN	260
J. Ellis	CIN	209
C. Gibson	CIN	184
A. Jones	SLN	177
]]>
1904 – Spoilsports http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/13/1904-spoilsports/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 16:28:28 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=225 Read More]]> RECAP

The 1904 season started off with a lot of promise, turned into a rather ho-hum affair down the stretch and then ended with a whimper.

The pennant races in both leagues were red-hot until June. In the National the race was a four-way affair through the first half of the campaign with Brooklyn leading the standings just ahead of Boston, St. Louis and the ever-dangerous defending champions from New York. The American League race was not quite as good – the Washington nine started off somewhat sluggishly before finding their groove in June and entered July with the best record in either league and a solid lead over second-place Cleveland.

July would be the turning point in the Senior Circuit. The Giants awoke from their slumber to decimate the competition that month to the tune of a 21-4 record in July. That pushed them ahead of the other three would-be contenders and into the driver’s seat. From there, the New Yorkers would cruise to another pennant, finishing with a 104-50 record, 13 games better than St. Louis. The Senators also dominated the remainder of the season, and also repeated – becoming the Junior Circuit’s first repeat champion – with a 102-52 mark that was 12 games better than second-place Cleveland.

But the big news at the end of the championship seasons in the National and American Leagues was the refusal by the New York Giants to play the planned “World Championship Series” against the AL Champions. “We beat those fellas last year,” opined Paul Samples, the star outfielder of the Giants. “I reckon the owners figure nothing much has changed.”

So the fans were left without the promised championship series and the uproar lasted well into the long winter months leading into the 1905 season.

The batting crown (another race that seemingly ended by around mid-season) went to Boston Americans’ star Sean McGonigle. The Mighty Mick posted a .382 mark and was a full thirty percentage points better than his nearest AL rival, Philly’s Newt Madewell (.352) and 51 points better than the NL batting champion: St. Louis’ Milt Cumberledge (.341).

Pitching was the name of the game in ’04 and Washington’s Pat Krieger had a heckuva season. Krieger was 31-11 with a 1.76 ERA for the AL champs, tossing 391 innings in his 44 starts. There was a tie atop the NL winner board with New York’s Aidan O’Day and St. Louis’ Tommy Powell each posting 27 victories. Powell was 27-4 with a tidy 1.61 ERA while O’Day was 27-11 with a 1.55 ERA. O’Day’s Giant team mate Fred McDonnell was the ERA champ with a 1.49 mark, while Detroit’s Reginald Filligree paced the AL with a 1.59 mark.

The Eastern League champion was the Newark Sailors, who posted a 98-42 mark and finished four games ahead of Rochester. Rochester’s Jersey Joe Reed was the batting champion with a .426 mark while Buffalo’s John Whitaker made news by recording 31 round trippers this season.

In the American Association, the Louisville Colonels repeated as Association champs, posting a 92-48 mark to finish 14 games ahead of Columbus. Milwaukee’s Pat Mastin was the AA batting titlist with a .324 mark while Colonels’ pitcher Don Hunsacker was 21-6 and posted a league-best 1.31 ERA to stake his claim as the top hurler in the circuit.

Out west, the Pacific Coast League ended its long 210-game season with a flat-footed tie between Portland and Seattle. Seattle was awarded the pennant by virtue of a better head-to-head record when the league office decided not to add an extra game to the schedule. Los Angeles’ Will Benson was the batting champion with a .346 average while the top pitcher was Seattle’s Wyatt Marshall who won 40 games and posted a 2.03 ERA while racking up an astounding 540 innings pitched.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team            	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Senators	102	52	.662	-	682	458
Cleveland Blues 	88	66	.571	14	694	538
Philadelphia Athletics	80	74	.519	22	605	539
Detroit Tigers  	79	75	.513	23	578	572
Boston Americans	70	84	.455	32	636	741
Chicago White Sox	70	84	.455	32	553	662
New York Highlanders	65	89	.422	37	536	619
St. Louis Browns	62	92	.403	40	506	661

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team            	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Giants 	104	50	.675	-	693	402
St. Louis Cardinals	91	63	.591	13	774	671
Boston Beaneaters	89	65	.578	15	659	610
Brooklyn Superbas	86	68	.558	18	588	564
Philadelphia Phillies	72	82	.468	32	561	625
Pittsburgh Pirates	64	90	.416	40	586	697
Chicago Cubs    	61	93	.396	43	532	622
Cincinnati Reds 	49	105	.318	55	524	726

LEADERS

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
S. McGonigle	BOS	.382
N. Madewell	PHA	.352
O. Taylor	CLE	.332
M. Foley	BOS	.322
H. Bruce	CLE	.319

Home Runs
R. Moten	WS1	12
E. Howard	WS1	9
F. Dorsey	BOS	6
B. Petersen	NYA	6
M. Royce	CHA	6

Runs Batted In
N. Madewell	PHA	91
T. Petticrew	CLE	87
F. Dorsey	BOS	80
H. Cart 	WS1	79
S. McGonigle	BOS	79

Wins
P. Krieger	WS1	31
D. Alexander	PHA	26
R. Watson	SLA	26
L. Singer	CLE	25
R. Filligree	DET	24

ERA
R. Filligree	DET	1.59
P. Krieger	WS1	1.73
D. Alexander	PHA	1.86
I. Conners	CLE	1.92
R. Watson	SLA	1.98

Strikeouts
D. Alexander	PHA	283
L. Singer	CLE	246
R. Filligree	DET	222
W. Sharp	CHA	205
P. Krieger	WS1	204
Batting AVG
M. Cumberledge	SLN	.341
H. Harris	SLN	.340
P. Samples	NY1	.335
P. Murphy	SLN	.332
C. Martin	BSN	.331

Home Runs
B. Barbella	NY1	13
F. Dill 	CIN	10
E. Mays 	BRO	9
L. Faulkner	PHI	7
B. Colston	CHN	6

Runs Batted In
M. Cumberledge	SLN	94
H. Valentine	SLN	93
E. Curl 	SLN	91
E. Hester	NY1	87
D. Wagner	NY1	83

Wins
A. O'Day	NY1	27
T. Powell	SLN	27
S. Kilgore	BSN	26
T. Eldridge	PHI	25
L. Rosen	BRO	24

ERA
F. McDonnell	NY1	1.49
A. O'Day	NY1	1.55
T. Powell	SLN	1.61
C. Gaines	NY1	1.99
M. Exum 	NY1	2.22

Strikeouts
T. Powell	SLN	247
F. Tannenbaum	CHN	235
T. Clifton	SLN	204
S. Kilgore	BSN	195
R. Nester	CHN	188
]]>
1903 – Peace and a “World’s” Series http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/12/1903-peace-and-a-worlds-series/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 19:55:26 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=221 Read More]]> RECAP

The battle between the National and American Leagues was proving costly to both sides. Baseball was – then as now – a business and the men holding the purse strings were keenly aware that competing for players simply put more of their money in their employees’ pockets. This was clearly something that could not continue indefinitely. To make matters worse (from the NL perspective), the older league was losing the attendance battle: AL teams were drawing at a 30% higher rate than their counterparts. So with some reluctance, the National League owners decided to make peace with the American League. Economic reality trumped pride in their estimation.

During the two-year war, things had gotten chaotic in the NL’s halls of power. A “syndicate” suggestion (all eight teams to be owned by one entity instead of eight individual owners or ownership groups) split the league in half. Power grabs were made for, among other things, the league presidency. In the end, the man behind the syndicate suggestion – Cincinnati owner James Banner – was allowed to purchase the New York Giants (getting him into the league’s top market where he really wanted to be) while selling the Reds to new owners. In return, all parties would agree that the syndicate idea was dead.

In the American League, the player-manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Jeff Peavey, repeatedly butted heads with AL President Byron Standish over his habit of “umpire baiting” – a trick he had picked up while playing for Pittsburgh in the 1890s. Peavey’s aggressive nature eventually led Standish to make a deal of his own: Baltimore would move to New York and Peavey would (quietly as he was still a player) get an ownership stake in what would be known as the New York Highlanders (the team that would become the Yankees). In return, Peavey would cease baiting the umpires and begin treating them with respect (a deal to which he mostly adhered during his remaining tenure in the AL).

In December 1902 the process to make peace began with a meeting in Cincinnati. What ultimately resulted from this, and several later meetings was that both leagues would begin respecting the others’ rosters and the reserve clause. They would coordinate scheduling and adopt the same playing rules. They would also enter into a new National Agreement with the growing minor leagues, assuring a steady supply of talent. They would avoid talking about monopolies and trusts and concentrate on playing up baseball’s stature as the “national pastime” – and they would hold a postseason series between the league champions that would be called the “World’s Series.”

With the squabbling behind them, the leagues got back to what the fans really cared about – playing games. The National League was again dominated by the New York Giants whose ownership change had no effect on the club’s on-field performance. New York won the pennant by a tidy 14-game cushion over Boston. 22-year-old outfielder Paul Samples continued to emerge as a bona-fide star, leading the Giants with a .324 average while also drawing 119 walks. The pitching was the big story, with the triumvirate of Fred McDonell (23-4, 1.84), Aidan O’Day (21-7, 2.70) and Mike Exum (19-12, 2.23) giving the opposition’s hitters all they could handle.

On the American League side, things were again much more of a contest. This time it was Washington who emerged from the pack, holding off challenges from Detroit, St. Louis, and Boston to claim the pennant with an 81-59 record. With star Harvey Cart having a (for him) somewhat ho-hum season (.287, 75 RBIs), 36-year-old Paul Hanson (in his final season in the big leagues) led a group of good-but-not-great hitters that finished 3rd in the league in hitting, but scored more runs than any other AL club. Harlan Holliday (25-9, 1.93) led the pitching staff, which finished third in runs allowed.

Boston’s Sean McGonigle led the AL in average (.370), hits (198) and runs (104) as he began to emerge as one of his league’s best players. Holliday was the class of the AL in pitching, but the erstwhile Baltimore club now playing at the northern tip of Manhattan boasted the league’s iron man pitcher – Johnny Fuller, who for the 2nd straight season paced the circuit in innings pitched and followed it up with a solid 2.18 ERA while both winning and losing more than 20 games (he finished 24-23 for a middling Highlander club).

The NL season saw Boston’s Heinie Staudenmaier flirt with .400 most of the summer before a late fade dropped him to a league-leading .360 average. A tragic story emerged out of Pittsburgh as Fritz Behrens, one of the game’s best players and at age 28, just entering his prime, was killed after the season when he drunkenly attempted to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and drowned. His final season was a good one as he hit .350 – just slightly above his lifetime mark of .346 and tallied 1753 hits in his 10-year career.

For the first time since the demise of the American Association, fans were treated to a postseason clash between league champs. This one wasn’t much of a series however as the Giants easily handled Washington in what was supposed to be a best-of-nine series but only went six games.

In the minors, a new league debuted as the Pacific Coast League took the field for the first time. Playing a long season in the warm climes of the Pacific states, the PCL would soon join the Eastern (soon to be International) League and American Association as the top tier of minor league baseball. It turned out that the long 210-game season wasn’t enough to determine a PCL champ – Sacramento and San Francisco finished in flat-footed tie and had to play one extra game, won by Sacramento who thereby laid claim to the initial PCL pennant.

Montreal repeated as Eastern champs while the American Association flag was captured by Louisville.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Washington Senators	81	59	.579	-	676	543
Detroit Tigers  	78	62	.557	3	624	500
St. Louis Browns	74	66	.529	7	567	538
Boston Americans	72	68	.514	9	648	677
New York Highlanders	66	74	.471	15	524	576
Chicago White Sox	63	77	.450	18	500	616
Cleveland Blues 	63	77	.450	18	662	735
Philadelphia Athletics	63	77	.450	18	564	580

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Giants 	96	44	.686	-	652	454
Boston Beaneaters	82	58	.586	14	630	563
Pittsburgh Pirates	77	63	.550	19	608	520
Cincinnati Reds 	69	71	.493	27	525	604
Chicago Cubs    	64	76	.457	32	556	556
Brooklyn Superbas	63	77	.450	33	522	598
St. Louis Cardinals	62	78	.443	34	559	555
Philadelphia Phillies	47	93	.336	49	473	675

LEADERS

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
S. McGonigle	BOS	.372
N. Madewell	PHA	.348
J. Honeywell	DET	.325
R. Hennessey	CLE	.321
F. Johnson	PHA	.315

Home Runs
A. Jackson	DET	13
P. Hanson	WS1	9
I. Flowers	NYA	6
E. Leeds	DET	6
N. Madewell	PHA	6

Runs Batted In
A. Jackson	DET	90
S. McGonigle	BOS	84
M. Swallow	BOS	82
E. Leeds	DET	79
J. Hayes	BOS	77

Wins
H. Holladay	WS1	25
J. Fuller	NYA	24
R. Parks	DET	24
M. Helton	DET	23
L. Sheppard	NYA	23

ERA
H. Holladay	WS1	1.93
J. Fuller	NYA	2.18
R. Watson	SLA	2.32
R. Parks	DET	2.33
T. Fairhead	BOS	2.37

Strikeouts
R. Parks	DET	171
L. Sheppard	NYA	167
B. Batts	PHA	159
R. Watson	SLA	152
J. Fuller	NYA	142
Batting AVG
H. Staudenmaier	BSN	.360
F. Behrens	PIT	.350
C. Martin	BSN	.331
M. Cumberledge	SLN	.329
P. Samples	NY1	.324

Home Runs
F. Behrens	PIT	14
N. Eanes	PHI	10
B. Barbella	NY1	9
W. Messer	CIN	8
J. Cahoon	BRO	7

Runs Batted In
F. Behrens	PIT	83
A. Gallant	NY1	78
M. Cumberledge	SLN	76
H. Staudenmaier	BSN	76
T. Work 	PIT	73

Wins
S. Sweetwater	BSN	29
A. Thrash	BSN	25
F. McDonnell	NY1	23
A. O'Day	NY1	21
O. Upjohn	PIT	21

ERA
F. McDonnell	NY1	1.84
S. Sweetwater	BSN	1.91
T. Powell	SLN	2.13
M. Exum 	NY1	2.23
Q. Holman	BSN	2.45

Strikeouts
T. Powell	SLN	219
F. Tannenbaum	CHN	185
J. Ellis	CIN	173
L. Rosen	BRO	140
A. Jones	SLN	138
]]>
1902 – Giants’ Century http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/11/1902-giants-century/ Sun, 11 Mar 2018 16:24:49 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=219 Read More]]> RECAP

The 1902 season marked the second edition of the now-flaming war between the established National League and the upstart American League. Again there were defections – though this time the National did manage to wrangle a player or two from the Americans as the gloves were off on both sides. There was a change to the lineup on the AL side as well as the Milwaukee Brewers moved south to the better baseball market of St. Louis where despite the presence of the National League’s Cardinals, it was hoped the team would enjoy better ticket sales.

The National League pennant race was anything but as the New York Giants stormed out of the gate and dominated the league from start to finish. Ultimately the Gotham nine put up an amazing 103-37 record running away from the pack and finishing 26 games ahead of Brooklyn. Defending champion Boston suffered a rash of injuries and tumbled into third place with a barely-over-.500 mark of 73-67 and the other five clubs all finishing below the .500 mark.

The Giants powerful pitching proved too much for the rest of the National League clubs. Aidan O’Day (29-8, 2.16 ERA), Bernard Berry (23-7, 1.84 ERA), Clive Hines (24-9, 2.36) and rookie Lonnie Tauber (18-9, 2.49) were the league’s top quartet with O’Day the league’s top winner and Berry its most stingy hurler. The offense was provided by Davey White (.333, 103 runs), Paul Samples (.338, 91 runs), Dell Coyne (.324, 101 runs) and Bruno Barbella (.281, 100 runs).

While New York was running away with the pennant in the National, the American League had its race come down to the wire. Cleveland was the surprise leader for the bulk of the season, but could not hold off the defending champions from Philadelphia as the Athletics ended up winning the pennant with a 84-51 record.

Injuries had the Athletics scuffling a bit this season, with such stalwarts as Fred Johnson playing only 104 games, though he did hit .324 for the season and scored 84 runs. The pitching prowess was provided by Bob Batts (19-5, 2.22 ERA), Eric Frontz (20-13, 2.18) and Jim Kirby (21-13, 2.89).

Top individual performances were turned in by Washington’s Harvey Cart, whose .394 average topped both leagues, with Detroit’s Jack Honeywell (.382) second in the American League. St. Louis Cardinal Milton Cumberledge hit .371 to lead the National with young Boston star Claude Martin finishing second with a .367 average. The ageless wonder in Cleveland, Tom Ewart topped the home run chart with 12, with Floyd Dill of Cincinnati topping the National with 11. Ewart’s Cleveland team mate Orville Taylor had 104 runs batted in to lead the American while Cincinnati’s George Hinkley was the National leader with 97. While Hinkley & Dill provided the offensive punch for the Reds, the Baxter Bullet was setting down the opposition in Cincinnati with 240 strikeouts before ending his season with an arm injury. New York’s Bernard Berry was the ERA leader at 1.84 in the National while Eric Frontz of the Athletics topped the AL.

The Eastern League pennant was won by the Montreal Royals, whose 93-47 record was easily better than the competition. Gary Goodwin’s 26-9, 2.65 ERA led the way for the Royals while Ben Wells contributed a .339 average (third-best in the league) to lead the offense. Jersey City first sacker Fred “Slap ‘n Dash” Brown led the league with a .399 average and earned a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates for 1903.

Another minor league loop of prominence made it’s debut in 1902 as the American Association was reborn. With eight clubs spread around the midwest between Columbus, Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri, the AA filled many of the cities vacated by the Western League and would soon join the Eastern League as one of the nation’s top minor loops. The Toledo Mud Hens won the inaugural pennant with a 78-62 mark, a game-and-a-half better than the Columbus Senators and two-and-a-half better than the Louisville Colonels. Future big leaguer Ben Mears was the league’s first batting titlist with a .344 mark for Minneapolis. Fellow Miller “Terrible” Tommy Powell was the AA’s top pitcher with a 19-13 mark and 2.67 ERA.

Meanwhile, out on the west coast, a new loop would form for 1903 that would give the top tier of minor league baseball a three-league system that would last for most of the rest of the 20th century.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team              	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Philadelphia Athletics	84	51	.622	-	707	517
Cleveland Blues 	85	55	.607	1½	806	695
Washington Senators	83	57	.593	3½	759	612
St. Louis Browns	82	58	.586	4½	631	577
Detroit Tigers  	69	71	.493	17½	723	669
Chicago White Sox	61	79	.436	25½	624	677
Baltimore Orioles	57	83	.407	29½	589	698
Boston Americans	37	103	.264	49½	539	927

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
New York Giants 	103	37	.736	-	766	422
Brooklyn Superbas	77	63	.550	26	676	591
Boston Beaneaters	73	67	.521	30	719	665
Chicago Orphans 	69	71	.493	34	597	647
Pittsburgh Pirates	61	79	.436	42	606	676
St. Louis Cardinals	61	79	.436	42	640	780
Cincinnati Reds 	58	82	.414	45	669	752
Philadelphia Phillies	60	85	.414	45½	589	735

LEADERS

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
H. Cart 	WS1	.394
J. Honeywell	DET	.382
O. Taylor	CLE	.346
S. McGonigle	BOS	.342
I. Flowers	BLA	.328

Home Runs
T. Ewart	CLE	12
J. Rundell	WS1	8
P. Hanson	WS1	7
E. Howard	WS1	7
L. Mannheim	DET	6

Runs Batted In
O. Taylor	CLE	104
B. Haffenden	DET	102
T. Ewart	CLE	94
P. Hanson	WS1	88
L. Patterson	PHA	87

Wins
H. Holladay	WS1	27
V. Parson	SLA	27
M. Helton	DET	26
R. Watson	SLA	26
W. Moran	CLE	24

ERA
E. Frontz	PHA	2.18
L. Singer	CLE	2.21
B. Batts	PHA	2.22
H. Holladay	WS1	2.22
M. Long 	PHA	2.36

Strikeouts
J. Fuller	BLA	151
W. Moran	CLE	151
R. Watson	SLA	144
M. Helton	DET	142
H. Holladay	WS1	125
Batting AVG
M. Cumberledge	SLN	.371
C. Martin	BSN	.367
F. Dill 	CIN	.351
H. Staudenmaier	BSN	.343
P. Samples	NY1	.338

Home Runs
F. Dill 	CIN	11
T. Smith	PHI	9
F. Behrens	PIT	8
D. Coyne	NY1	8
P. Rayburn	CHN	8

Runs Batted In
G. Hinkley	CIN	97
M. Cumberledge	SLN	92
R. Myers	BSN	86
N. Joseph	BRO	83
A. Gallant	NY1	81

Wins
A. O'Day	NY1	29
P. Daly	BSN	24
C. Hines	NY1	24
B. Berry	NY1	23
S. Sweetwater	BSN	23

ERA
B. Berry	NY1	1.84
T. Eldridge	PHI	2.10
A. O'Day	NY1	2.16
L. Rosen	BRO	2.27
C. Hines	NY1	2.36

Strikeouts
J. Ellis	CIN	240
P. Daly 	BSN	203
A. O'Day	NY1	184
H. Bowman	CHN	161
G. Stevens	BRO	147
]]>
1901 – The Americans http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/10/1901-the-americans/ Sat, 10 Mar 2018 15:01:31 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=217 Read More]]> RECAP

The National’s “wait & see” attitude didn’t result in too much waiting before they got to see what the American League was going to do. As he had intimated, Byron Standish removed the leashes on his club presidents (most of whom had been involved in some manner with the National League before hooking up with Standish and the Westerners). It was open season on any player whose contract was merely “reserved.”

About 15 players took immediate advantage of the situation, led by Harvey Cart of Brooklyn. Cart was a batting champion and an excellent all-around player at second base. It didn’t take long for him to ditch Brooklyn for a doubling of his salary with Washington’s new AL club. Other players, many of them young, up & coming stars also jumped ship to the new league – names such as Fred Johnson, Tavis Petticrew, Maurice Foley and Sean McGonigle were soon signing their names to contracts with American League clubs.

The National League was bleeding and it didn’t take long for the magnates to take notice. The question was: how to stop the bleeding? The apparent – and for the magnates, distasteful – answer was simple: pay their players more or see them walk away for Standish’s loop. One of the unintended victims of the initial stages of the war between the National and American Leagues was the minor circuits – especially the Eastern League which saw many of its best players snapped up by the National League to replace their lost players.

On the field the early – and ultimately late – leaders were the Boston Beaneaters who captured a third-straight National League pennant with a 94-46 mark, a full twelve games better than the Pirates. The American League was led virtually wire-to-wire by the brand-new Philadelphia Athletics who resurrected the nickname of the city’s old AA team and won the inaugural pennant by a round ten-game margin over the runner-up Boston Americans.

The Athletics were led by AL batting champ “Slim” Jim Larson. A former Pittsburgh Pirate who had been unable to break into the lineup with the Pirates, Larson hit .367 for the Athletics. Milwaukee’s Milton Pratt, also a former National Leaguer who had jumped from the now-defunct Washington club to the 1900 Brewers, finished second with a .365 mark. Philadelphia also had the loop’s top pitcher in Bob Batts. “The California Cannon” was a 21-year-old southpaw who came from the California League who went 24-10 with a 2.59 ERA. NL refugee Harvey Cart hit .351 for the new Washington club while Tom Ewart raised his hits total to 3710 after hitting .353 in Cleveland at the ripe age of 39.

On the National League side Stanley Sweetwater, Boston’s ace pitcher, also had a momentous season, winning his 200th career game on October 1st (a 9-2 win over Pittsburgh) less than a month after throwing a no-hit, no-walk game against the same Pittsburgh club, missing out on a perfect game by a pair of fielding errors. For his career, Sweets is 200-84 with a 2.75 earned run average.

Boston’s always potent lineup also produced in tremendous fashion in ’01. Heinie Staudenmaier hit .349 to lead the club and was 5th in the National League (Floyd Dill of Cincinnati was the batting champion at .365). Mick O’Halloran had the best season of his five-year career, scoring 132 runs and hitting .340 for the year. Rocky Hennessey, the English-born outfielder who came over after the Cleveland Spiders were folded in 1899, followed a .341 campaign in 1900 by hitting .333 in 1901. And Claude Martin, the “California Kid,” was plucked from an orange field in southern California and hit .331 in his first professional baseball since 1899.

The Erie club was the toast of the somewhat talent-deprived Eastern League, winning 81 and losing just 39 to leave second-place Providence 13 games behind.

Many fans’ hopes were dashed when the National League firmly refused to consider a post-season championship series with the American League upstarts.

STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Philadelphia Athletics	88	52	.629	-	747	550
Boston Americans	78	62	.557	10	686	650
Milwaukee Brewers	69	66	.511	16½	676	671
Washington Senators	71	69	.507	17	711	752
Chicago White Sox	68	72	.486	20	692	698
Cleveland Blues 	63	77	.450	25	699	776
Baltimore Orioles	61	79	.436	27	665	705
Detroit Tigers  	59	81	.421	29	696	769

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Beaneaters	94	46	.671	-	811	607
Pittsburgh Pirates	82	58	.586	12	622	564
New York Giants 	81	59	.579	13	686	636
St. Louis Cardinals	78	62	.557	16	759	621
Cincinnati Reds 	73	67	.521	21	726	652
Brooklyn Superbas	65	75	.464	29	574	602
Philadelphia Phillies	47	98	.324	49½	641	886
Chicago Orphans 	43	97	.307	51	551	803

LEADERS

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Batting AVG
J. Larson	PHA	.367
M. Pratt	MLA	.365
S. McGonigle	BOS	.362
T. Ewart	CLE	.353
H. Cart 	WS1	.351

Home Runs
E. Howard	WS1	15
W. Poole	CLE	10
T. Ewart	CLE	9
S. Lamb 	PHA	7
A. Schoonmaker	PHA	7

Runs Batted In
B. Haffenden	DET	100
E. Howard	WS1	89
H. Lynch	MLA	86
H. Cart 	WS1	83
S. Lamb 	PHA	83

Wins
B. Batts	PHA	24
W. Sharp	CHA	24
J. Fuller	BLA	23
K. Lammers	WS1	23
J. Brewer	BOS	22

ERA
J. Kirby	PHA	2.10
R. Watson	MLA	2.34
W. Moran	CLE	2.40
M. Helton	DET	2.45
M. Long 	PHA	2.52

Strikeouts
J. Fuller	BLA	194
W. Sharp	CHA	167
B. Batts	PHA	152
K. Lammers	WS1	134
W. Tobin	BLA	131
Batting AVG
F. Dill 	CIN	.365
P. Murphy	SLN	.360
D. Murphy	SLN	.356
F. Behrens	PIT	.351
H. Staudenmaier	BSN	.349

Home Runs
G. Christian	BRO	12
F. Behrens	PIT	10
T. Smith	PHI	10
F. Dill 	CIN	9
A. Jackson	CIN	9

Runs Batted In
B. Barbella	NY1	95
D. White	NY1	95
M. Cumberledge	SLN	94
M. O'Halloran	BSN	90
D. Murphy	SLN	89

Wins
P. Daly 	BSN	29
T. Cameron	SLN	21
J. Ellis	CIN	21
R. Jeffers	PIT	21
R. Kushner	SLN	20

ERA
O. Upjohn	PIT	2.42
L. Volk 	PIT	2.45
R. Jeffers	PIT	2.46
C. Martin	PIT	2.50
L. Rosen	BRO	2.53

Strikeouts
J. Ellis	CIN	275
P. Daly	        BSN	173
G. DeValois	PHI	147
G. Stevens	BRO	128
L. Frace	SLN	125
]]>
1900 – Out of the West(ern) http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/08/1900-out-of-the-western/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 16:42:00 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=215 Read More]]> RECAP

The National League’s reduction by a third to an eight-team loop resulted in a cascade of roster changes and also opened up the door for a new – and this time permanent – challenger to the National’s status as baseball’s only “major” league. But that last change wouldn’t occur until after the completion of the 1900 season (more on that later…).

Despite the redistribution of the best of the four disbanded clubs, the Boston Beaneaters repeated as National League champions, winning 81 while losing 59, three victories better than the runners-up in St. Louis. New York finished third with an injury-depleted Brooklyn nine rounding out the top four, followed by Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and in last place, Philadelphia.

The 3000-hit club tripled in size as two men joined Tom Ewart with both Otto Bentz of Cincinnati and Charlie Shanafelt of Brooklyn notching #3000 within two days of each other. Bentz reached the mark first, collecting his milestone off with a first-inning single off St. Louis’ Harry Tague on October 3rd. Shanafelt’s accomplishment came two days later with a third-inning safety against Philadelphia’s Tom Eldridge. For their careers, Shanafelt has edged ahead of Bentz with 3009 hits to Bentz’s 3007. Ewart, who is now the player-manager of the American League Cleveland club, finished his National League career in 1899 with 3037 hits.

Shanafelt’s Brooklyn team mate Harvey Cart captured the batting crown with a .390 average with Paddy Murphy of St. Louis a close second at .385 for the year. Cart was also the only batsman to drive home 100 runs, finishing with a flat 100, 14 better than team mate Buck Roberts. Boston’s Pat Daly won the most games with 26 victories ahead of St. Louis’ Lionel Frace who posted 23. Fellow St. Louisan Mac Colligan was the ERA champ with a 2.06 mark and Cincinnati’s firethrowing Jasper Ellis was again the leader in strikeouts (209) as well as bases-on-balls (195).

The Eastern League pennant was claimed by Worcester, which was 80-56, three games better than Rochester. Hartford’s Paul Samples was the batting champion with a .383 average, edging out Roy Kane of Toronto (.380). Leo “The Little Lion” Rosen won 33 games and pitched 393 innings wit an ERA of 2.22 for Syracuse, which was third in the league ERA race. Eric Frontz won that title with a 2.13 mark for Rochester.

The Western League had upgraded, renaming itself the “American League” and looking more and more like the successor to the old American Association as a direct competitor to the National League. Ironically, the older league had given the AL permission to put teams in Chicago and Cleveland for the 1900 season. On the field, the Milwaukee Brewers captured the first American League crown. The Brewers’ Milton Pratt led the loop in batting at .410, while Chicago’s Frank Walker (The Peoria Peach) won 23 games. Tom Ewart, the “Erie Eel” who was still the all-time hits king in the National League, collected 177 safeties as player-manager for Cleveland. But the big news from the American League came after the season ended.

In December 1900, American League President Byron Standish was hedging on re-signing the National Agreement. The Agreement governed the manner in which the National League dealt with “minor” leagues, of which the NL considered all other leagues since the AA had folded back in ’92.

With the NL becoming increasingly arrogant and heavy-handed in its dealings with the other leagues over the past few years, especially in 1900 when the contraction of four clubs had consolidated the cream of the crop of baseball talent among eight clubs, Standish had decided it was time to make his move. The American League, which as recently as 1899 had been a regional loop with a regional moniker (Western League) was going “major.”

Standish announced that the American League would be moving clubs into Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington – two of them currently homes of NL clubs with the other being former homes to the big league. The four new clubs (essentially shifted) would join Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee from the minor league incarnation of 1900.

The AL czar also promised to honor any National League contracts which had already been signed for 1901. However, any player merely “reserved” (which was essentially ALL of them) would be considered fair game by the AL clubs. It amounted to a declaration of war and guaranteed that player salaries would skyrocket.

Initially, the NL took a “wait and see” attitude. That wouldn’t last long.

STANDINGS

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS
Team              	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Beaneaters	81	59	.579	-	758	625
St. Louis Cardinals	78	62	.557	3	690	619
New York Giants 	75	65	.536	6	611	579
Brooklyn Superbas	73	67	.521	8	763	777
Pittsburgh Pirates	69	71	.493	12	647	598
Cincinnati Reds 	66	74	.471	15	665	681
Chicago Orphans 	65	75	.464	16	574	663
Philadelphia Phillies	53	87	.379	28	565	731

LEADERS

Batting AVG
H. Cart BRO .390
P. Murphy SLN .385
S. McGonigle CIN .355
R. Hennessey BSN .341
D. Murphy SLN .335

Home Runs
G. Christian BRO 5
F. Goodenough CHN 5
W. Poole CHN 5
B. Roberts BRO 5
R. Adams CIN 4

Runs Batted In
H. Cart BRO 100
B. Roberts BRO 86
M. Calice PIT 85
G. Christian BRO 84
D. Russell BSN 83

Wins
P. Daly BSN 26
L. Frace SLN 23
T. Fairhead CIN 21
H. Tague SLN 21
S. Sweetwater BSN 20

ERA
M. Colligan SLN 2.06
T. O’Dunady CHN 2.27
C. Hines NY1 2.28
J. Burke CHN 2.34
L. Cardinal PHI 2.39

Strikeouts
J. Ellis CIN 209
P. Daly BSN 144
L. Frace SLN 126
T. Fairhead CIN 121
O. Upjohn PIT 115


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1899-1900 – Interlude http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/06/1899-1900-interlude/ Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:50:24 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=213 Read More]]> The National League’s twelve owners, known to the media simply as the “Base Ball Magnates,” gathered in New York for their annual winter meeting. It didn’t take long for the topic on everyone’s mind to be brought into the open: the twelve-team league simply did not work and to survive, the strong must get rid of the weak. At least two – and probably four – clubs needed to be jettisoned.

New York’s Alton Fender, who until just a year previously had owned the Louisville club, had been vocal in previous meetings: the Giants club was of key importance to the health of the League as, in Fender’s words, “the flagship franchise in the nation’s greatest metropolis.” The Giants had often been a poorly-performing club, only Fender’s purchase and subsequent stripping of Louisville’s best players to send to New York had reversed the club’s sickly fortunes. Now Fender made a demand: either the weak sisters be removed or he would be forced to reduce his financial commitment to the Giants. Everyone recognized this would be disastrous.

Results on the field exacerbated the problem. The same teams won, the same lost, year after year. Boston, Brooklyn and Louisville (and New York, using Louisville’s players in 1899) had dominated the 1890s. The Temple Cup, an artificial attempt at some form of postseason drama, had been a failure – no one outside the cities involved cared; after all, everyone “knew” who the real champions were – the regular season had proven it. All roads led to the same destination: four teams must go.

The easiest to dismiss was Washington. A weak sister, the Senators had never been particularly competitive, nor had they proven profitable in the nation’s capital. Baltimore, which had briefly been a good club in the middle of the decade, had fallen on hard times and was mediocre at best and playing to indifferent crowds. Similarly, Louisville, once a league power had first been stripped of its best players by Fender and then sold off. What was left was neither competitive nor profitable. Finally Cleveland, which had been competitive though never a top-notch club, was named as the fourth club simply based on economic factors.

A potential wrench in the works was the possibility of a new American Association. The last things the magnates wanted was to dispatch four clubs only to have them show up as the core of a reborn major league challenger. Therefore, the four exiled magnates would have to be “bought off” – the main issue was for how much. In the end, it came down to each of the eight surviving clubs contributing 5 percent of their gross revenues over the 1900 and 1901 seasons into a pot to be split evenly among the four cast-offs. The estimated total for each of the four was about $105,000.

So the National League, base ball’s most successful organization, jettisoned four teams, slimming down an eight-team circuit as the new century approached. Moving into the 20th century would be Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Even as the surviving eight began fighting over the players left jobless by the contraction of their clubs, a new threat, greater than any ever before faced by the venerable 25-year-old pro loop, was growing right under their very noses….

Throughout the last decade of the 19th century, the National League reigned unchallenged as the top-level of base ball competition. But the big league (now slightly less big after cutting four teams and returning to an eight-team circuit) had its full impact limited mainly to the large cities it occupied. The rest of the country, picking up news of the National League via telegraph, found their base ball enjoyment mainly in their own local teams, competing in what were finally becoming known as “minor” leagues.

One of these minor leagues had been wildly successful in the 1890s. It was called the Western League and it had risen to success despite the wreckage left after the Players League and American Association had failed in 1891-92, with the monopoly feeling no real need to heed past agreements with the minor leagues. The Western League featured clubs in Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Buffalo – all cities which had, at one time or another, been “big league” cities.

In 1894, the Western League acquired a new president, a newspaperman from Cincinnati named Byron Standish. Standish had numerous acquaintances inside the National League from his days as a baseball writer, especially the owner of the Cincinnati club James K. Thistle, who had little love for the opinionated and strong-willed Standish. One prominent National Leaguer who did have a good relationship with Standish was Tom Ewart of Cleveland on whom Standish had lavished much praise in print.

After the big league dropped four cities – including Cleveland – from its ranks following the 1899 season, Standish wasted no time in moving a team into Cleveland – with Ewart agreeing to not only play for the team, but also to act as both owner and manager. In addition to this coup, Standish pulled off a seemingly impossible feat when he convinced the National League to allow the Western League to put a club in Chicago. The White Stockings, so-called in honor of the very first professional club in the Windy City, was the former St. Paul club (Cleveland got the Grand Rapids club, which had begun the 1899 season in Columbus).

Standish also renamed his league the “American League” after brushing off overtures from a group of men interested in resurrecting the American Association. Standish would do things his own way. He made sure to quell National League concerns by vowing his league would not break the player agreement with the big league (a contract stating such would expire in December of 1900) and would honor NL contracts while still allowing the older league to purchase players from AL clubs.

Therefore as the 1900 season approached, Byron Standish’s American League had a decidedly “big league” look to go along with its new moniker: seven of the eight clubs were in former (or in Chicago’s case, current) National League cities.

And though still centered in the midwest, Standish was a man with a grand vision and that vision now had his eyes trained on Eastern cities as well, particularly with both Baltimore and Washington now vacated by the National League.

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1899 – The Drop http://legendsport.com/index.php/2018/03/06/1899-the-drop/ Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:43:07 +0000 http://legendsport.com/?p=210 Read More]]> The final season of the 19th century dawned with the National League still unchallenged. But the situation was not completely rosy for the Big League. Twelve teams was a lot for a single circuit and since the demise of the American Association left the league without a direct competitor the long season seemed to end with a whimper – the Temple Cup had been shelved because no one outside the cities involved really cared about it. Exacerbating the problem was that the same three or four clubs were always on top (Brooklyn, Baltimore, Boston and Louisville) while others – New York being the prime example – were perpetually in the basement. A tipping point was rapidly approaching.

Enter Alton Fender, owner of the defending champion Louisville Colonels. Fender was extremely proud of his club, but he was also envious. New York drew well despite being a bunch of stumblebums on the field while Louisville, with far fewer potential customers, was going like gangbusters and not turning much profit. So Fender decided to do the logical thing: he purchased the  Giants and then traded most of his good Colonels (headlined by Bruno Barbella and Squirrel Downs) to New York, turning the league’s worst team into one of its best with a big check and the stroke of a pen. The same thing happened – on a slightly less grandiose scale – when Baltimore owner Charles Stebbins purchased the St. Louis club and made similar “trades” between his two teams. What was left of the once proud Louisville and Baltimore clubs was not contending material – and the fans knew it.

So the ’99 season opened with two new powers and two former powers now crippled. Against all odds, the Louisville club actually hung in there… for about a month before falling to the bottom of the standings table. Baltimore, not quite as stripped bare, did manage a respectable middle of the table finish. But the impact was felt in New York more than anywhere else. The Giants had been among the league’s worst teams for a decade. They hadn’t finished higher than 9th (and that high only once) since the Association folded in 1891 and hadn’t been over .500 since 1889. Over the previous four seasons, New York had been 12th three times and 11th once. They were bad. But that was before Fender took the reins.

The reinvigorated Giants rose from a 56-98 record in 1898 to finish with an almost inverse record – 97-57. Not quite good enough for the pennant, but good for second place. That was due to a late swoon that toppled them from the top spot and left them two games behind Boston’s 99-55 record. Fittingly for a champion, the Boston club boasted not only the batting champion – Heinie Staudenmaier with a .369 average – but also the top pitcher in the circuit with Stanley Sweetwater, whose 28 victories and 2.15 earned run average were both the best in the National League.

Staudenmaier’s .369 was good enough for a respectable cushion over the runners-up, St. Louis’ Danny Murphy and Pittsburgh’s Fritz Behrens who tied for second with .355 averages. Mike Calice of the Pirates (.351) and Bruno Barbella (.343) of the snake-bitten Giants rounded out the top five hitters. Behrens tied with Brooklyn’s George Christian for the lead in round trippers, with 12 while Christian laid claim to the RBI crown with 133, seven more than Barbella’s 126.

Sweetwater’s 28 victories placed him two ahead of Cincinnati’s electric (and wild) Jasper Ellis. St. Louis’ Mac Colligan finished second in the ERA race with a 2.25 mark and Ellis placed far ahead of all competition with 227 strikeouts, an impressive mark offset by his astounding 230 walks.

The Western League finished its 1899 campaign in a sea of controversy. Both Milwaukee and Minneapolis laid claim to the pennant. Milwaukee finished the season 74-50, for a .597 winning percentage while Minneapolis won more games (78) but also lost more (54) with a .591 winning percentage. Ultimately Western League president Byron Standish awarded the pennant to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s Charlie Cole won the West’s batting title by being the loop’s only hitter to club better than .400 (.403). Minneapolis’ Charlie Mitchell won 27 games to lead that category.

In the Eastern League, the season wrapped up with Montreal edging Worcester by a scant half-game to claim the pennant. Worcester boasted the league’s two top hitters in Sean McGonigle (.417) and Mike Washington (.389), while Montreal had the top pitcher in Gaston DeValois who won 25 games and finished second to Rochester’s Hi Reed with a 2.49 earned run average (Reed posted a 2.30 ERA).

As the winter break began rumors abounded that big changes would be coming. Bad attendance and lopsided competition, plus tangled ownership had given birth to talk of cutting the league back to eight clubs for 1900. But which clubs would be cut? And adding to the tumult was the rumor of a reborn American Association, possibly including clubs from the very successful Western League – though Western czar Byron Standish had stated frequently – and unequivocally – that his circuit was uninterested in merging any of its clubs into a new American Association. Standish had other ideas in mind for his Western League.

STANDINGS

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Team             	W	L	WPct	GB	R	RA
Boston Beaneaters	99	55	.643	-	964	663
New York Giants 	97	57	.630	2	936	660
Brooklyn Superbas	84	70	.545	15	929	883
St. Louis Perfectos	82	72	.532	17	823	821
Cleveland Spiders	81	73	.526	18	840	789
Pittsburgh Pirates	79	75	.513	20	800	736
Baltimore Orioles	76	78	.494	23	776	793
Philadelphia Phillies	69	85	.448	30	689	833
Washington Senators	68	86	.442	31	732	807
Cincinnati Reds 	66	88	.429	33	681	827
Louisville Colonels	62	92	.403	37	765	997
Chicago Orphans 	61	93	.396	38	826	952

LEADERS

Batting AVG
H. Staudenmaier	BSN	.369
D. Murphy	SLN	.355
F. Behrens	PIT	.355
M. Calice	PIT	.351
B. Barbella	NY1	.343

Runs Batted In
G. Christian	BRO	133
B. Barbella	NY1	126
C. Shanafelt	BRO	122
K. Quinlan	BSN	111
M. Calice	PIT	109

Home Runs
F. Behrens	PIT	12
G. Christian	BRO	12
B. Barbella	NY1	10
W. Poole	CHN	9
M. Bird 	NY1	8

ERA
S. Sweetwater	BSN	2.15
M. Colligan	SLN	2.25
L. Cardinal	PHI	2.57
T. Eldridge	PHI	2.60
D. Stenger	WSN	2.62

Wins
S. Sweetwater	BSN	28
J. Ellis	CIN	26
T. Fairhead	CL4	25
B. Harrison	BSN	24
B. Berry	NY1	23

Strikeouts
J. Ellis	CIN	227
J. Thibeault	SLN	105
T. Fairhead	CL4	103
J. Burke	CHN	98
J. Rhodes	CHN	91
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