24 April 2007

1893 National League

Unchallenged as the "major league," the National rolled on in 1893. Boston beat out Pittsburgh for the pennant, and the field stretched from Boston's 86-43 to Washington's 40-89, 46 games back. By now, rules had evolved to roughly the same as today, so any fan would recognize the game: 60 feet, 6 inches; 4 balls; 3 strikes; bunts, hit and run, fielder gloves, pitchers throwing overhand, the works. We now meet the era which would qualify as "modern baseball."

The top three in batting average were Phillies: Billy Hamilton (.380), Sam Thompson (.370), and Ed Delahanty (.368). Hugh Duffy was next at .363. Thompson led in hits (222) and doubles (37), Delahanty in total bases, home runs (19), and RBI (146). Tom Brown had 66 stolen bases. Offense exploded all over the league with the new rules, especially pitchers moving back 10 feet.

Ted Breitenstein led the league with a 3.18 ERA, followed by Amos Rusie at 3.23, Cy Young at 3.36, Red Ehret at 3.44, John Clarkson at 3.48. Frank Killen led with 36 wins, Young and Kid Nichols won 34 each, Rusie 33. Rusie led with 208 strikeouts, while second was all the way down to Brickyard Kennedy with 107. Rusie almost doubled up the second-place guy.

Pitching Win Shares: Frank Killen (Pittsburgh) 42, Amos Rusie (New York) 41, Kid Nichols (Boston) 40, Cy Young (Cleveland) 35, Ted Breitenstein (St. Louis) 30, Brickyard Kennedy (Brooklyn) 29, Sadie McMahon (Baltimore) 26, Jack Stivetts (Boston) 25, Red Ehret (Pittsburgh) 24, Frank Dwyer (Cincinnati) and Kid Gleason (St. Louis) 22.

Position players; Hugh Duffy (Boston) and Ed Delahanty (Philadelphia) 28, Herman Long (Boston) 26, Billy Nash (Boston) and Elmer Smith (Pittsburgh) 25, Tommy McCarthy (Boston) and Jesse Burkett (Cleveland) 24, Cupid Childs (Cleveland) 23, Bobby Lowe (Boston) and George Davis (New York) 22, Bid McPhee (Cincinnati) and Denny Lyons (Pittsburgh) 21.

WARP3 leaders, position players: Delahanty 10.7, Smith 8.3, Billy Hamilton (Philadelphia) 7.1, Lyons 6.6, Davis 6.5, McPhee 6.2, Nash 6.0, Childs 5.6, Duffy and Bob Allen (Philadelphia) 5.4, Jake Beckley (Pittsburgh) and Jack Crooks (St. Louis) 5.3, Mike Griffin (Brooklyn) 5.2, Long 5.1.

WARP3 leaders, pitchers: Rusie 11.1, Young 10.5, Breitenstein 9.7, Nichols 8.9, Killen 7.6, Kennedy 6.7, McMahon 5.9, Al Maul (Washington) 4.9, Willie McGill (Chicago) 4.8, Duke Esper (Washington) 4.5.

WAR leaders, pitchers: Rusie 11.0, Nichols 10.8, Young 9.9, Breitenstein 9.2, Killen 8.8, Kennedy 5.5. Position players: Delahanty 7.3, Davis 5.8, Hamilton 5.3, Smith 5.1, Childs 5.0, Connor and Lyons 4.6, Burkett 4.3, Beckley 4.2, McGraw and McPhee 4.1.

Best pitcher: Amos Rusie is by far the best choice. Leader in strikeouts and innings, 2nd in ERA, 4th in wins. A good field, I'd put Cy Young #2 and Kid Nichols #3 with Frank Killen 4th and Ted Breitenstein 5th.

Best hitter: Ed Delahanty. Sliding Billy Hamilton tops the rate stats, but played only 82 games. Delahanty exploded on the league, leading in slugging, HR and RBI, 2nd to Hamilton in OPS, 3rd in batting average.
#1 Ed Delahanty, #2 Elmer Smith, #3 George Davis, #4 Hugh Duffy, #5 Cupid Childs.

Top rookie was almost certainly Bill Lange, .281 in 117 games. Not many rookies of note.

Top manager: Al Buckenberger got Pittsburgh up from the middle of the league to a battle for the pennant.

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