Detroit won a narrow victory over Philadelphia with Chicago and Cleveland close behind. It was a great four-team race, and the team of the young Ty Cobb plus seasoned Sam Crawford clubbed their way to the pennant. Detroit won 92 games, the A's 88, Chicago 87 and Cleveland 85. The Tigers then lost the World Series to the Cubs. New York and St. Louis started the second division, then Boston and Washington trailed the AL pack.
Statistical leaders: Ty Cobb won the batting title in his first full season, hitting .350, and also leading in slugging at .468, OPS at 848, hits with 212, total bases, steals with 49, and RBI with 119. Sam Crawford was second in batting at .323, and led in runs with 102. Harry Davis led with 35 doubles and homers with 8, Elmer Flick in triples with 18. Topsy Hartsel led in on-base at .405. Socks Seybold was second in RBI with 92.
Addie Joss and Doc White tied with 27 wins. Bill Donovan and Ed Killian had 25 wins each. Ed Walsh led the league with a 1.60 ERA, Killian had a 1.78, Addie Joss a 1.83. Rube Waddell had 232 strikeouts, Ed Walsh had 206. Walsh pitched 37 complete games while Eddie Plank had 8 shutouts.
Win Shares leaders:
Players; Ty Cobb (Detroit) 41, Elmer Flick (Cleveland) 37, Sam Crawford (Detroit) 36, Nap Lajoie (Cleveland) 32, Topsy Hartsel (Philadelphia) 29, Ed Hahn (Chicago) and George Stone (St. Louis) 27, Fielder Jones (Chicago) 25, Davy Jones (Detroit) 24, Kid Elberfeld (New York) and Harry Davis (Philadelphia) 21.
Pitchers; Ed Walsh (Chicago) 37, Ed Killian (Detroit) and Eddie Plank (Philadelphia) 29, Addie Joss (Cleveland) 28, Cy Young (Boston) 27, Doc White (Chicago) 25, Frank Smith (Chicago) 24, Wild Bill Donovan (Detroit) and Harry Howell (St. Louis) 23, Chief Bender (Philadelphia) 22, George Mullin (Detroit) 21.
WARP3 leaders: Cobb 7.8 (first full year), Lajoie 7.0, Flick 6.8 (last full year), Stone 6.6, Crawford 4.4, Hartsel (last good year) and Bobby Wallace (St. Louis) 4.3, Ossee Schreckengost (Philadelphia) 3.9, F. Jones and Socks Seybold (Philadelphia) 3.6.
And the pitchers: Walsh 8.6, Killian 6.3 (best year), Plank and Joss 5.5, Young and White 5.3, Howell 4.6, Charlie Smith (Washington) and Bender 4.3, F. Smith 4.2, Donovan 3.8.
WAR, position players: Cobb 7.6, Lajoie 7.5, Flick 6.7, Stone 6.5, Crawford 6.4, Wallace 5.4, Hartsel 5.3, G. Davis 4.7, F. Jones and H. Davis 4.4, Turner 4.3.
WAR, pitchers: Walsh 7.0, Young 6.3, Killian 5.8, Joss 5.6, Plank 5.4, Siever 5.2, Bender and Donovan 4.2, Howell 3.6, White 3.5.
It's the beginning of the Ty Cobb era, as the Tigers won the first of three straight pennants. Cobb was the league's best player (get used to that phrase) leading in average, slugging, OPS, hits, RBI, and steals. The first of several no-doubt top player awards. I'll rank Elmer Flick #2, with Nap Lajoie #3, Sam Crawford #4, and George Stone #5.
Top pitcher is Ed Walsh, the ERA leader. 2nd in strikeouts, 1st in starts and complete games. Walsh also won 24. Ed Killian ranks #2, and Ed Plank #3 with Addie Joss #4 and Cy Young #5.
Top manager was Hughie Jennings, holding together that Detroit team with the volatile 20-year-old Cobb. Jennings knew a thing or two about being volatile.
Top rookie: Walter Johnson. No big rookie splashes, although Tris Speaker also debuted this year. Speaker only batted 19 times, while Johnson was 5-9 but with a 1.88 ERA in 110 innings.