11 August 2007

1918 National League

A war-shortened season, something not seen before or since in MLB. An influenza pandemic also contributed to the crisis, as some players stayed home, as did many fans, rather than risk exposure to the germs. The Cubs won the pennant handily over New York, with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh following. You may notice the conspicuous absence of Pete Alexander from these proceedings.

Statistical leaders: Zack Wheat batted .335 to edge Edd Roush's .333 for the batting title. Heinie Groh batted .320 for third place, and led with 86 runs and 28 doubles. George Burns as second with 80 runs, Gavy Cravath and Les Mann were second with 27 doubles. Charlie Hollocher had 161 hits, Groh was second with 158 hits. Jake Daubert had 15 triples. Sherry Magee led with 76 RBI, George Cutshaw had 68 RBI, while Max Carey had 58 steals.

James "Hippo" Vaughn won the pitchers' Triple Crown with 22 wins, 148 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA. Claude Hendrix was second with 20 wins, Wilbur Cooper, Burleigh Grimes, and Lefty Tyler had 19 wins each. Tyler was second with a 2.00 ERA, Cooper 2.11. Cooper was second with 117 strikeouts, Grimes 113.

Win Shares leaders, players; Charlie Hollocher (Chicago) and Heinie Groh (Cincinnati) 28, Dode Paskert (Chicago) and George Burns (New York) 23, Fred Merkle (Chicago), Edd Roush (Cincinnati), Ross Youngs (New York) and Max Carey (Pittsburgh) 22 each, Red Smith (Boston) 21.

WS leaders, pitchers; Hippo Vaughn (Chicago) 28, Burleigh Grimes (Brooklyn) 25, Lefty Tyler (Chicago) 24, Wilbur Cooper (Pittsburgh) 23, Brad Hogg (Philadelphia) 19, Claude Hendrix (Chicago) 18.

WARP3: Groh 7.4, Burns 6.0, Art Fletcher (New York) 5.5, Hollocher 4.8 in his rookie season for the pennant winners, Youngs 4.7 in his rookie year also, Roush and Carey 4.2, Billy Southworth (Pittsburgh) 4.1, Rogers Hornsby (St. Louis) 4.0, Lee Magee (Cincinnati) 3.6.

Pitchers: Vaughn 7.8, Tyler 6.3, Hogg 5.2 (career year), Cooper 5.1, Grimes 5.0 (first good year), Art Nehf (Boston) 4.8, Bill Doak (St. Louis) 4.4, Hod Eller (Cincinnati) 3.7, Hendrix 3.5 (last big year).

WAR leaders, position players: Hollocher 6.0, Groh 5.7, Hornsby 5.5, Burns and Roush 5.2, Carey 5.0, Fletcher 4.8, Smith 4.5, Youngs and Merkle 4.0. Pitchers: Vaughn 6.8, Tyler 6.0, Cooper 4.2, Grimes 3.5, Hogg 3.3, Eller 3.1, Nehf and Prendergast 2.5, Mayer 2.4, Hendrix 2.2.

Top player: Heinie Groh. 1st in OBP, 2nd to teammate Roush in OPS and OPS+. Looking at Groh as arguably the best player in the NL for 1917-18 casts a new light on the 1919 WS, I think. Hollocher #2, Edd Roush #3, George Burns #4, Ross Youngs #5.

Top pitcher: Hippo Vaughn. With Alexander out of the league due to WW I for most of the year, Vaughn was the top hurler in the league. He led in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and several other categories. Lefty Tyler was #2, Burleigh Grimes #3, Wilbur Cooper #4, Brad Hogg #5.

Top rookie: Charlie Hollocher. Ross Youngs has an argument, but Hollocher played at least as effectively and for the pennant winners.

Top manager: Fred Mitchell led the Cubs to the flag in his second year on the job.

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