11 August 2007

1919 American League

The White Sox won the pennant and then lost a World Series that had a very dark cloud over it, which would shortly erupt into a furious storm. Gambling had been a problem in baseball for a very long time. This problem now boiled over. There has been a lot of revisionist history perpetrated that the 1919 Black Sox were one of the greatest teams ever. They were not. They were a very good team, and one that could have continued a strong run of success for awhile, until Eddie Collins and Joe Jackson were too old to carry the offense. Most of the rest of the players, save Happy Felsch, were on the downside of their careers.

Cleveland, New York and Detroit made strong showings in the pennant race, St. Louis, Boston, and Washington were in the second division, while Philadelphia returned to a horrid performance and lost 104 games. The league struggled to get back to normal after the end of World War I.

Statistical leaders: Ty Cobb won, yes, the batting title at .384, well ahead of Bobby Veach at .355, George Sisler at .352, and Joe Jackson at .351. Babe Ruth led in on-base, slugging, and OPS, and with 103 runs, 29 HR, and 114 RBI. Sisler was second in runs with 96 and Cobb third with 92. Ruth's 29 nearly tripled the second-place total of ten home runs, reached by Sisler, Tilly Walker, and "Home Run" Baker. Veach had 101 RBI. Bobby Veach led with 45 doubles and 17 triples and tied Cobb with 191 hits. Tris Speaker was second with 38 doubles, Sisler and Harry Heilmann had 15 triples, Jackson was third with 181 hits. Eddie Collins had 33 steals.

Eddie Cicotte won 29 games, while Walter Johnson led with 147 strikeouts and a 1.49 ERA. Stan Coveleski was second with 24 wins, Lefty Williams won 23. Cicotte had a 1.82 ERA and Carl Weilman was second at 2.07. Jim Shaw was second with 128 strikeouts.

Win Shares leaders, players; Babe Ruth (Boston) 43, Joe Jackson (Chicago), Ty Cobb and Bobby Veach (Detroit) 32 each, Eddie Collins (Chicago) and Tris Speaker (Cleveland) 27, Roger Peckinpaugh (New York) and George Sisler (St. Louis) 24, Harry Heilmann (Detroit) 23.

WS leaders, pitchers; Eddie Cicotte (Chicago) 32, Stan Coveleski (Cleveland) and Walter Johnson (Washington) 27, Bob Shawkey (New York) and Alan Sothoron (St. Louis) 24, Lefty Williams (Chicago) 23.

WARP3: Ruth 13.0, Veach 8.0, Peckinpaugh 7.7 (best season), Collins 7.5, Sisler 6.5, Del Pratt (New York) 6.2, Wally Schang (Boston) 5.9, Cobb 5.7, Speaker 5.4, Jackson 5.1, Sam Rice (Washington) 4.5, Ray Schalk (Chicago) 4.4, Ray Chapman (Cleveland) 4.0, Buck Weaver (Chicago) and Frank Baker (New York) 3.7, Happy Felsch (Chicago) and Heilmann 3.6.

Pitchers: Johnson 11.3 (last of his huge seasons. He would now be a Good Pitcher), Cicotte 8.9, Coveleski 7.7, Jim Shaw (Washington) 6.3, Williams (best season) and Jim Bagby (Cleveland) 4.9, Scott Perry (Philadelphia) 4.7.

WAR leaders, position players: Ruth 10.2, Veach 7.6, Sisler 7.3, Cobb 6.9, Jackson and Peckinpaugh 6.8, Collins 6.5, Speaker 6.1, Pratt 5.6, Rice 4.8. Pitchers: Johnson 9.2, Cicotte 8.8, Coveleski 5.9, Shaw 5.4, Williams 5.2, Sothoron 4.8, Mays and Shocker 4.2, Boland 3.9, Bagby, Quinn, and Shawkey 3.6.

Best player: Babe Ruth. Time to get used to it, it will be true for most of the next decade. Ruth led in runs, homers, RBI, total bases, times on base, and most percentage categories. Veach led in doubles and triples and ranks #2, with Cobb #3, Sisler #4, and Joe Jackson #5 for the pennant winners.

Best pitcher: Walter Johnson, leader in ERA, strikeouts and shutouts. Runner-up is Cicotte, the wins leader with 29. Coveleski was second in wins and #3 here. Sothoron ranks #4, Williams #5.

Best rookie: Dickie Kerr was 13-7, 2.88 ERA for Chicago, then won two games in the World Series. George Uhle was 10-5 with a 2.91 ERA for Cleveland.

Best manager: Tris Speaker took over Cleveland in midseason and nearly got them to the pennant.

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