04 July 2007

1909 National League

The Pirates break the Cubs' stranglehold on the pennant, while Cubs' catcher Johnny Kling takes a year off. The Pirates won 110 games to the Cubs' 104, while New York won 92. Cincinnati was just above .500, Philadelphia just below, and Brooklyn, St. Louis, and Boston brought up the rear. The Pirates and veteran Honus Wagner then beat the Tigers of youngster Ty Cobb in the World Series.

Wagner won the batting title at .339, with Cincinnati's tandem of Mike Mitchell and Dick Hoblitzell were second and third at .310 and .308, and Larry Doyle rounded out the .300 hitters at .302. Tommy Leach led the league in runs at 126, followed by Fred Clarke at 97. Doyle had 172 hits and Eddie Grant 170. Wagner led with 39 doubles, Mitchell with 17 triples. Wagner also led with 100 RBI, followed by Red Murray's 91. Bob Bescher had 54 steals and Murray 48. Wagner led in on-base, slugging, OPS, and runs created.

Mordecai Brown topped the loop with 27 wins, followed by Howie Camnitz and Christy Mathewson with 25 each. Mathewson led with a 1.14 ERA, followed by Brown at 1.31 and Orval Overall at 1.42. Overall led in strikeouts with 205, then came Nap Rucker at 201. Overall had nine shutouts, Brown and Mathewson eight each.

Win Shares, players: Honus Wagner (Pittsburgh) had 42 Win Shares, to teammate Fred Clarke's 31 and Mike Mitchell's 28 for Cincinnati. They were followed by Johnny Evers and Solly Hofman (Chicago) and Larry Doyle (New York) with 27 each, Tommy Leach (Pittsburgh) 26, and Harry Steinfeldt (Chicago) 25. WARP3 leaders: Wagner 10.0 at age 35, Mitchell 6.5 (he was 29 in this, his best year), George Gibson (Pittsburgh) 6.3, Clarke 5.5 at age 36, Hofman 5.2, Ed Konetechy (St. Louis) 5.1, Dots Miller (Pittsburgh) and Dick Hoblitzel (Cincinnati) 4.7, Art Devlin (New York) 4.6, John Titus (Philadelphia) 4.2, Al Bridwell (New York) 4.1.

Pitching is a bit closer. The Win Shares leaders are: Mordecai Brown (Chicago) 36, Christy Mathewson (New York) 34, Orval Overall (Chicago) and Howie Camnitz (Pittsburgh) 30, Earl Moore (Philadelphia) and Vic Willis (Pittsburgh) 24 each, Nap Rucker (Brooklyn) and Hooks Wiltse (New York) 22. WARP3 leaders: Mathewson 11.5, Rucker 8.0, Brown 7.8, Overall 7.4, Art Fromme (Cincinnati) 6.6, Al Mattern (Boston) 5.6, Camnitz (best year), Wiltse and Ed Reulbach (Chicago) 4.9, George Bell (Brooklyn) 4.4.

WAR, position players: Wagner 10.6, Clarke 6.7, Mitchell and Bridwell 6.6, Konetchy 5.7, Miller 5.5, Devlin and Doyle 5.4, Tinker 5.3.

WAR, pitchers: Brown 8.7, Mathewson 8.5, Overall 7.1, Rucker 6.5, Camnitz 6.4, Willis 5.7, Reulbach 5.5, Fromme 5.3, Moore 5.1.

Best Player: Honus Wagner is the clear leader. Led in batting average, on-base, slugging, OPS, total bases, RBI, and OPS+ with 173. Second best was Mike Mitchell of Cincinnati at 152. I would rank Clarke #2 and Mitchell #3 with Larry Doyle #4 and Ed Konetchy #5.

Brown's 27 wins and second-place ERA probably would have won him the vote, and I'll take him too, as though Mathewson was better at rate, Brown pitched quite a few more innings and that counts. Earl Moore wins a Comeback Award, returning to effectiveness after years of struggle. Put Brown #1 with Mathewson #2 and Overall #3, Camnitz #4 and Rucker #5.

For top rookie, Dots Miller batted .279 for Pittsburgh and played a respectable second base for the pennant winners. Zack Wheat batted .304 but played only 26 games.

Top manager to Fred Clarke, guiding the Pirates back into the pennant circle.

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