10 June 2007

1903 American League

The Boston Pilgrims won the pennant, rather handily. The Baltimore franchise picked up and moved to New York (following most of their players), as the franchise that would become the Yankees. The geographic face of the major leagues was now set for the next 50 years, although the geographic face of America would change much in that time. Only three teams in the AL, Cleveland, Detroit, and Washington, did not have a competing NL team in town. It would remain that way for half a century. No wonder people were so upset when franchises started moving; few still alive could remember when things had been different.

With Boston on top, and Washington mired at the bottom, the other six teams bunched in the middle. More stars were lured to the AL, including Sam Crawford, and the leagues were now on equal footing. To prove this, Boston challenged NL winner Pittsburgh to a "World's Series" after the season, often counted as the first ever, and the Pilgrims won 5 games to 3. The Series resumed in 1905, and continued uninterrupted through 1993.

League leaders included batting champ Napoleon Lajoie at .344, Patsy Dougherty at 107 runs and 195 hits, and Buck Freeman with 13 HR and 104 RBI. Socks Seybold socked 45 doubles, Sam Crawford 25 triples, and Harry Bay stole 45 bases. Crawford was second in average with a .335 mark, then Dougherty at .331.

For pitching, Cy Young nearly lapped the field with 28 wins, Earl Moore posted a 1.74 ERA, and Rube Waddell was far and away the strikeout leader at 302. No one else had even 200. If you ever wondered why Connie Mack put up with Waddell's antics for so long, that's why. Eddie Plank had 23 wins, while Jack Chesbro, Bill Dinneen, Willie Sudhoff, and Waddell had 21. Young posted the second-best ERA at 2.08, Bill Bernhard 2.12, Doc White 2.13. Second-best in strikeouts is Bill Donovan with 187.

Here's what the Win Shares say:
Players; Nap Lajoie (Cleveland) 31, Bill Bradley (Cleveland) 29, Patsy Dougherty (Boston) 28, Jimmy Collins and Freddy Parent (Boston), Danny Green (Chicago) and Jimmy Barrett (Detroit) 26 each, Elmer Flick (Cleveland) and Sam Crawford (Detroit) 25, Buck Freeman 24.

Pitchers; Cy Young (Boston) 38, Eddie Plank (Philadelphia) 28, Bill Dinneen (Boston) and Rube Waddell (Philadelphia) 27, Willie Sudhoff (St. Louis) 25, Tom Hughes (Boston), Doc White (Chicago) and George Mullin (Detroit) 23, Bill Donovan (Detroit) and Jack Chesbro (New York) 22.

On the WARP3 front, it's (players) Lajoie 10.3, Bradley 10.2, Collins 7.9, Green 7.6, Dougherty and Crawford 7.2, Barrett and Flick 6.7, Freeman and Jimmy Williams (New York) 6.4, Billy Lush (Detroit) 6.3, Parent 6.2, Socks Seybold (Philadelphia) 5.6.

WARP3 Pitchers, Donovan 7.9, Young 7.8, Sudhoff 7.2, Mullin 7.0, White 6.8, Plank 6.7, Addie Joss (Cleveland) 6.5, Dinneen 6.1, Waddell 6.0.

WAR leaders, positions: Lajoie 7.6, Bradley 6.9, Parent 6.1, Crawford 5.4, Barrett and Collins 5.2, Dougherty 5.0, Flick 4.5, Green 4.3, Elberfeld 4.2, Lush 4.1.

WAR leaders, pitchers: Waddell 7.1, Young 6.5, Dinneen 6.0, Donovan and Plank 5.8, Sudhoff 5.3, Joss 4.0, Mullin 3.9.

Top player is Nap Lajoie, leader in batting average, slugging, and OPS. He was 2nd in doubles and 3rd in RBI. His teammate Bill Bradley would be 2nd, with Jimmy Barrett 3rd, Freddy Parent 4th, and Sam Crawford 5th.

Cy Young as the best pitcher. Leader in wins, 2nd in ERA, 4th in strikeouts. 2nd would be strikeout king Rube Waddell, with Bill Donovan 3rd, Eddie Plank 4th, and Bill Dinneen 5th.

I'll cast a best rookie vote for Chief Bender of the A's, 17-14 with a league average ERA of 3.07.

Top manager to Jimmy Collins, guiding the pennant winners.

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