12 May 2007

1898 National League

Boston won their second pennant in a row, outdistancing Baltimore, and finishing 63.5 games ahead of last-place St. Louis. That was a larger margin in part because the schedule was increased to 152 games: they had played 154 in 1892, but were normally playing about 130. They would go to 154 in 1899, then down to 140 for several years before settling at 154 until expansion. It was Boston, Baltimore and Cincinnati at the top, Brooklyn, Washington and St. Louis at the bottom, and the rest in between. Player transfers started, and syndicate ownership began showing an ugly face, as Pink Hawley and Elmer Smith were moved from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, in an era where that was rare. Owners with a piece of two or more teams starting moving players to make a bigger splash in the biggest market.

Willie Keeler won another batting title, at .385. Billy Hamilton was second at .369 and led in on-base and OPS. Keeler led with 216 hits, while John McGraw scored 143 runs. Nap Lajoie led with 43 doubles and 127 RBI. John Anderson had 22 triples, Jimmy Collins collected 15 home runs. Ed Delahanty was the surprise stolen base leader with 58.

Kid Nichols led the league with 31 wins again, Bert Cunningham won 28 games, Pink Hawley and Doc McJames 27. Clark Griffith posted a 1.88 ERA to lead the loop, Al Maul had a 2.10 mark, Nichols posted a 2.13. Cy Seymour was the strikeout champ at 239, McJames was second with 178. Seymour would switch to the outfield a few years hence after arm trouble.

Pitching Win Shares: Kid Nichols (Boston) 44, Cy Young (Cleveland) and Jesse Tannehill (Pittsburgh) 34, Clark Griffith (Chicago) 32, Ted Lewis (Boston) 31, Doc McJames (Baltimore) and Bert Cunningham (Louisville) 30, Pink Hawley (Cincinnati) 28, Cy Seymour (New York) 26, Vic Willis (Boston), Ted Breitenstein (Cincinnati) and Jack Powell (Cleveland) 25.

Players Win Shares: Jimmy Collins (Boston) 34, Billy Hamilton (Boston) and Ed Delahanty (Philadelphia) 33, Hughie Jennings (Baltimore) 32, John McGraw (Baltimore) 31, Jesse Burkett (Cleveland) and George Van Haltren (New York) 29, Jimmy Ryan (Chicago) 28, Bill Dahlen (Chicago) and Elmer Smith (Cincinnati) 27, Elmer Flick and Nap Lajoie (Philadelphia) 26.

WARP3 scores, pitchers; Griffith 9.2, Nichols 9.0, Tannehill 7.0, Young and Cunningham 6.7, Al Maul (Baltimore) 6.6, Seymour 6.2, Lewis 6.0, Rusie 5.8, Wiley Piatt (Philadelphia) 5.7, McJames 5.4, Powell 4.9, Brickyard Kennedy (Brooklyn) 4.8, Jack Taylor (St. Louis) 4.7.

Players; Jennings 10.2, McGraw 9.3, Collins 8.5, Gene DeMontreville (Baltimore) 7.5, Dahlen 7.1, Flick and Willie Keeler (Baltimore) 6.6, Dan McGann (Baltimore) 5.9, Hamilton, Delahanty, and Bill Lange (Chicago) 5.7, Van Haltren and Lajoie 5.5.

WAR for pitchers: Nichols 9.5, Griffith 9.2, McJames 7.4, Maul 6.7, Young 6.6, Lewis and Powell 5.7, Tannehill 5.4, Cunningham 5.3, Hawley 4.9. Position players: Jennings 8.3, McGraw 8.1, Collins 6.6, Delahanty 6.3, McGann 6.0, DeMontreville 5.8, Dahlen 5.7, Burkett 5.4, Hamilton and Keeler 5.2.

Top pitcher: Kid Nichols, 31-12 with a 2.13 ERA, over Clark Griffith, 24-10 with a 1.88 ERA in a close race. Nichols led the league in wins and WHIP, Griffith in ERA. Nichols also had four saves of his teammates, and more strikeouts than Griffith.
#1 Kid Nichols, #2 Clark Griffith, #3 Doc McJames, #4 Cy Young, #5 Jesse Tannehill.

Top player: Do-it-all third baseman Jimmy Collins in his best year. Collins was the greatest third baseman of the era, and a deserving Hall of Famer. Collins led in homers and total bases, was 2nd in slugging and RBI, and played great defense. I'll put Jennings second and McGraw third.
#1 Jimmy Collins, #2 Hughie Jennings, #3 John McGraw, #4 Ed Delahanty, #5 Billy Hamilton.

Top manager to Boston's Frank Selee, with another pennant.

Top rookie to Elmer Flick, 4th in on-base and a .302 average. 2nd to fellow Hall of Famer Vic Willis, 25-13 for Boston.

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