Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Bates’

1910: Phillies Postmortem

September 10, 2010

I’m not sure what to say about the Fightin’ Phils. They finished fourth, but probably should have been higher. They hit well in spots and abysmally in others. Their pitching was a mixed bag. I guess that means I shouldn’t be surprised they ended up fourth in the National League. But somehow they just look better on paper.

Outfielder Sherry Magee was the star. He won the batting and slugging titles, ending Honus Wagner’s stranglehold on hitting in the NL, and led the league in both runs and RBIs. The Chalmers Award, the first MVP Award, began in 1911, but had it started in 1910, Magee might have won it. He had that good a year.

The rest of the hitting wasn’t nearly as good. Center fielder Johnny Bates hit .300 and three other starters hit above .250, but the other starters, including catcher/manager Red Dooin, hit below that mark. Philly finished fifth in average, fourth in slugging, and first in doubles. They scored 674 runs, third in the league.

As with most teams of the era, the bench wasn’t much. Of six players showing up in 20 or more games, one hit .250 and four were under the Mendoza Line. The one was 24-year-old Fred Luderus, who got into 21 games after a 24 game stint with the Cubs. He would anchor the right side of the infield for the Phils through 1920 and help lead them to a World Series appearance in 1915.

The pitching is as mixed a bag as the hitting. Thirty year old Ed Moore led the team with 22 wins against 15 losses. He led the NL in both strikeouts (185) and shutouts (6). George McQuillan led the league in ERA at 1.60, but had a record of only 9-6. The rest of the starters had mediocre years with winning percentages between .533 and .461.

So Philadelphia going into 1911 looked like a run-of-the-mill team with some potential. If Magee had another great year (he got hurt) and Bates continued playing well (he was traded to Cincinnati) then they might contend. The pitching had to improve. On 1 September 1910, the Phillies went a long way toward doing that. They drafted Grover Cleveland Alexander from minor league Syracuse, planning to bring him to Philadelphia in 1911. That worked.

Opening Day, 1910: Philadelphia (NL)

April 10, 2010

Sherry Magee

The Phillies led the second division of the National League at the end of 1909. They were going the wrong way. It was their lowest finish over the last four years. Had I been told that and nothing else, I would have expected major changes in their lineup. I would have been wrong.

The Phils made one significat change between 1909 and 1910, their manager. Out was Bill Murray, in came Red Dooin. Dooin was the team catcher. He wasn’t much of a hitter, although not really bad either (which defines mediocre). Although not at Johnny Kling’s level, he was considered a fine defensive backstop. As a manager he was untested. He would stay through 1914.

Although the people in the lineup didn’t change, the batting order changed a lot. John Titus, the right fielder, moved from third to leadoff. Second baseman Otto Knabe went from sixth to second. Johnny Bates stayed in center field, but went from second to third in the batting order. Left fielder Sherry Magee remained in the cleanup spot. Former leadoff hitter third baseman Eddie Grant dropped to fifth in the order, and former five hitter and first baseman Kitty Bransfield took over the six hole. The other two spots in the lineup remained the same with shortstop Mickey Doolan hitting seventh and catcher-manager Dooin batting eighth.

The bench did make some changes. Backup first baseman and pinch hitter Joe Ward remained, but Pat Moran came over from Chicago to hold down the backup catching duties, and rookie Jimmy Walsh became a jack-of-all-trades by becoming both the primary backup middle infielder and fourth outfielder. Roy Thomas spelled him in the outfield on a handful of occasions.

The pitching staff also underwent some change. The main starters in ’09 were Earl Moore, Lew Moren, George McQuillan, Frank Corriden, Harry Coveleski, and Tully Sparks. Moore was 18-12  and led the league in walks. Both Moren and Corriden had winning records, something McQuillan, Coveleski, and Sparks couldn’t say. In 1910 Moore, Moren, and McQuillen were back (Sparks was around too, but only got into three games). Replacing Coveleski and Corriden were Bob Ewing who came over from Cincinnati and rookie Eddie Stack.

So there wasn’t much improvement on the Phillies roster in 1910. If they were going to overcome a 36.5 game 1901 deficit and win, their old guys wre going to have to do it. Maybe a new manager and a couple of new pitchers would do the trick. Of course maybe someone already there would get hot (see Magee).

Next: Brooklyn