27 July 2007

1914 National League

It was the year of the Miracle Braves, as manager George Stallings embarked on a remarkable set of platooning, which had been tried in small amounts but never in this kind of volume. Stallings did the kind of juggling job Casey Stengel would later become famous for, although Stallings had fewer people to juggle. Only three players, Rabbit Maranville, Johnny Evers, and 1B Butch Schmidt, played every day. Career years from some pitchers completed the Miracle, and the Braves then swept the mighty A's in the World Series. New York ran second, and St. Louis improved all the way to third. Chicago was fourth. Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati trailed.

Statistical leaderboard: Jake Daubert led the league with a .329 average, followed by Beals Becker at .325. Casey Stengel led in on-base, Sherry Magee in slugging, and Gavy Cravath in OPS. George Burns led with 100 runs scored and 62 steals, Magee with 171 hits, 39 doubles, and 103 RBI, and Cravath with 19 homers. Magee led in runs created, Joe Connolly in OPS+.

Pete Alexander led in wins with 27 and strikeouts with 214. Bill James, Dick Rudolph, and Jeff Tesreau each won 26. Bill Doak posted a 1.72 ERA to take honors there. James posted a 1.90 mark, Jeff Pfeffer 1.97. Tesreau struck out 189. Tesreau had eight shutouts, Alexander 32 complete games.

Win Shares leaderboard:
Players; George Burns (New York) 31, Sherry Magee (Philadelphia) 29, Gavy Cravath (Philadelphia) 28, Tommy Leach (Chicago) 27, Zack Wheat (Brooklyn) 26, Joe Connolly and Johnny Evers (Boston) 25, Rabbit Maranville (Boston) and Vic Saier (Chicago) 24.

Pitchers; Bill James (Boston) 36, Dick Rudolph (Boston) 29, Jeff Pfeffer (Brooklyn), Jeff Tesreau (New York) and Pete Alexander (Philadelphia) 26, Slim Sallee (St. Louis) 25, Bill Doak (St. Louis) 24.

WARP3: Burns 6.8 (best year), Wheat 6.5, Heinie Groh (Cincinnati) 5.5, Miller Huggins (St. Louis) 5.1, Magee 5.0, Maranville 4.2, Connolly (career year), Dots Miller (St. Louis) and Jake Daubert (Brooklyn) 4.1, Art Fletcher (New York) 4.0, Leach (the last good year of a long career), Saier, and Honus Wagner (Pittsburgh) 3.9, Cravath 3.6.

Pitchers: Alexander 11.1, James (his only good year) and Erskine Mayer (Philadelphia) 8.6, Pfeffer 7.6 (rookie, best year), Rudolph 7.0, Tesreau 6.5, Sallee 6.1, Doak 4.9, Babe Adams (Pittsburgh) 4.4, Bob Harmon (Pittsburgh) 4.1.

WAR leaders, position players: Burns 7.8, Magee 6.3, Herzog 6.2, Wheat 5.9, Cravath, Maranville, and Evers, 5.5, Huggins 5.4, Saier 5.2, Smith 5.0. Pitchers: James 7.4, Alexander 7.0, Pfeffer 6.9, Rudolph 5.9, Doak 4.9, Sallee and Tesreau 4.8, Mayer 4.7, Adams 3.6, Perrit 3.4.

Award Voting (MVP top 10):
Place Name Team 1st place Points
1 Johnny Evers BSN 0 50
2 Rabbit Maranville BSN 0 44
3 Bill James BSN 0 33
4 George Burns NYG 0 31
5 Dots Miller STL 0 18
6 Jeff Tesreau NYG 0 15
7 Sherry Magee PHI 0 14
7 Dick Rudolph BSN 0 14
9 Zack Wheat BRO 0 10
10 Pete Alexander PHI 0 9

You can tell the shock at the Miracle Braves: the top 3 in the MVP voting came from Boston.

Top player: George Burns was the best overall player in the league, leading in runs and steals and 3rd in doubles. At the time, I would have been tempted to select a Boston player, but Connolly was a platoon player, Evers and Maranville didn't hit enough. I'd have to put Sherry Magee 2nd, Zack Wheat 3rd, Gavy Cravath 4th and Johnny Evers 5th.

Top pitcher: Pete Alexander at the beginning of his run as top NL pitcher. It's tempting to pick James or even Rudolph, but Alexander was better. James would rank #2, Jeff Pfeffer #3, Dick Rudolph #4, and Jeff Tesreau #5. The Braves triumph was a true team effort, which is why the true honor to bestow is...

Top manager: George Stallings. He used platooning like no one had before, and got a couple of career years that the Boston Braves rode to the World Championship.

Top rookie was pitcher Jeff Pfeffer, not the same as the earlier Big Jeff Pfeffer.

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