Faced with spiraling salaries, the erstwhile pennant winners gutted the roster and fell to the league's basement. Sounds like a contemporary headline, but it happened to Connie Mack's A's when faced with the Federal League competition. Mack lost ace pitchers Eddie Plank and Chief Bender to the Feds, and third baseman Frank Baker was out for the year due to his wife's death, so Mack sent 2B Eddie Collins to Chicago to raise funds. Even without his star and veteran pitchers Mack hoped to contend, but SS Jack Barry tanked, veteran Nap Lajoie was no replacement for Collins, and Baker's absence ripped a hole in the infield that could not be patched over. It would take Mack years to rebuild. This edition lost 109 games.
Boston and Detroit stepped into the gap, the Red Sox beating out the Tigers for the pennant by 1.5 games, with Chicago a solid third. Washington finished 4th, riding Walter Johnson as usual. New York, St. Louis, and Cleveland were in the second division. The Red Sox then won the World Series over the Phillies.
Statistical leaders: Ty Cobb ran away with the batting title, hitting .369. Eddie Collins was second at .332. Cobb also led in on-base average and OPS, as well as runs (144), hits (208), and steals with a career-high 96. That was the 20th century record until Lou Brock exceeded it in 1974. Cobb's teammates Bobby Veach led in doubles with 40, Sam Crawford in triples with 19, and the two tied for the RBI lead at 112. Cobb had a big lead in runs created.
Walter Johnson led the way with 27 wins and 203 strikeouts, while Smokey Joe Wood posted a 1.49 ERA to edge Johnson's 1.55. Ernie Shore came in at 1.64. Hooks Dauss, Jim Scott, and Red Faber each won 24 games.
Here's who Shared in the Wins:
Players: Ty Cobb (Detroit) 48, Eddie Collins (Chicago) 40, Tris Speaker (Boston) 36, Bobby Veach (Detroit) 30, Jack Fournier (Chicago) and Sam Crawford (Detroit) 28, Duffy Lewis (Boston) and Burt Shotton (St. Louis) 24, Ossie Vitt (Detroit) 23, Eddie Foster and Clyde Milan (Washington) 22.
Pitchers; Walter Johnson (Washington) 42, Rube Foster (Boston) and Hooks Dauss (Detroit) 25, Harry Coveleski (Detroit) and Ray Caldwell (New York) 24, Babe Ruth (Boston) and Jim Scott (Chicago) 23, Ernie Shore (Boston) and Bert Gallia (Washington) 22.
WARP3: Collins 10.9, Cobb 9.8, Speaker 7.6, Fournier 6.6, Veach (first big season) and Vitt (peak year) 5.6, Crawford 4.8 (last big year), Donie Bush (Detroit) 4.7, Ray Schalk (Chicago) 4.2, Buck Weaver (Chicago) and Del Pratt (St. Louis) 3.9.
Pitchers, Johnson 11.5, Guy Morton (Cleveland) 7.9, Carl Weilman (St. Louis) 6.3, Caldwell and Joe Wood (Boston) 6.2, Dauss and Ray Fisher (New York) 5.3, Scott 4.9, Foster 4.8 (best year), Ruth (first full year), Gallia (best year) and John Wyckoff (Philadelphia) 4.2, Shore 4.0.
WAR, position players: Cobb 10.5, Collins 9.8, Speaker 7.0, Fournier 6.3, Veach 5.3, Shotton 5.0, Vitt 4.7, Pratt and Crawford 4.6, Chapman 4.4. Pitchers: Johnson 9.5, Morton 5.8, Scott 5.7, Dauss and Wood 4.9, Benz and Shore 4.7, Fisher 4.6, Ayers and Gallia 4.4.
Best player: Ty Cobb, for a Detroit team that came up just short of a pennant. Cobb led the league in average, runs, hits, total bases, and steals. Collins was a solid second. He played his usual excellent defense in Chicago, was 2nd in batting and first in walks. Speaker third for the pennant winners, followed by Veach and Fournier.
Best pitcher: Walter Johnson led in wins and strikeouts, 2nd in ERA. The rest are far behind, but Jim Scott would be #2, followed by Harry Coveleski, Hooks Dauss, and Guy Morton.
Best rookie: George Sisler batted .285 in 81 games.
Best manager: Bill Carrigan guided Boston to their pennant and World Series wins.