The Days of Wee Willie, Old Cy and Baseball War

Scenes from the Dawn of the Deadball Era, 1900–1903


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SKU: 9780786494019 Categories: ,

About the Book

This account of the four baseball seasons of 1900 through 1903 seeks to capture the flavor of the period by providing yearly overviews from the standpoint of each team and by focusing more deeply on 30 or more players of the era—not only such legendary stars as Cy Young and Willie Keeler, but also relative unknowns such as Bill Keister and Kip Selbach. Each team section is supplemented by a table providing the significant batting and pitching statistics for each regular team member.
The major theme of the period was the baseball war between the National and American leagues from 1900 to 1903. But the broad multi-season, multi-team view allows varying the focus. The pennant races receive due attention but there are other aspects of the baseball drama, such as: the aging star who finds a way to extend his period of dominance (Cy Young); the young, unpolished phenom whose raw talent enables him to excel (Christy Mathewson); and the fierce competitor who risks injury to help his team (Joe McGinnity or Deacon Phillippe).

About the Author(s)

Chuck Kimberly is a retired contract specialist who formerly worked for the Department of Defense. A member of SABR, he lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Chuck Kimberly
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9401-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1551-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface    1

Chapter One. 1900, National League

A Gem of a Season 5

The Iron Man to the Rescue: Brooklyn 10

Putting It Together Too Late: Pittsburgh 14

A Formidable Batting Order: Philadelphia 17 Faded Glory: Boston 18

Spoiled Broth: St. Louis 21

A Team of Fighters: Chicago 22

Good Idea, Bad Timing: Cincinnati 23

Polishing the Big Apple’s Team 27

Big Ed Decided to Bunt 29

Wee Willie Was Big 30

Kip’s Bad

Rep 36

Intersecting Career Paths: Pink Hawley and Joe McGinnity 37

A Loud Noise in Brooklyn: Roaring Bill Kennedy 43

Chapter Two. 1901, National League

The Baseball War’s Opening Salvo 46

A New Powerhouse: Pittsburgh 47

More Ginger: Philadelphia 51

Please, Please—Not Toward Third: Brooklyn 53 Addition by Subtraction: St. Louis 55

Battle Damage: Boston, Chicago, New York and Cincinnati 57

A Fine Utility Player: Honus Wagner 61

There Was Something About Harry: Harry Wolverton 64

A Rising Star: Jimmy Sheckard 65

He Doesn’t Need the Money: Emmet Heidrick 66

A Tale of Two Lefties: Lefty Davis 69

The Toast of New York: Christy Mathewson 70 Rambling Rube 73

Harsher Times 77

Chapter Three. 1901, American League

The New Major League 81

The Defending—and New—Champions:

Chicago 82

A Gentleman’s Team: Boston 86

A Thrilling Start: Detroit 89 Mack Cobbles Together a Winner: Philadelphia 91

McGraw’s Orioles, Act II 94 

A Considerable Trick: Washington 96

Cleveland Still Had the Blues 98

Losing Brews Fan Discontent 102

In a Class by Himself: Napoleon Lajoie 104    A Designated Hitter Born Too Soon: Bill Keister 108

Davey Crockett in

Detroit 110

Adjusting Successfully: Cy Young 111

A Logical Decision:

Frank DeHaas Robison 115

Chapter Four. 1902, National League

A Desperate Counterattack 117

Like Men Among Boys: Pittsburgh 121

Hanlon’s Projects: Brooklyn 123

End of the Road for a Star: Boston 127

Refreshing Changes: Cincinnati 129

New Nickname, New Manager, New

Players: Chicago 130

Why Rebuilding Is Difficult: St. Louis 133


Five Percent Good: Philadelphia 136

The Fourth Estate Gets Its Chance: New York 138

A Fielding Wonder: Fred Tenney 141

A Wee Bit of a Slugger: Tommy Leach 143

The Future King of Sluggers: Sam Crawford 144

Setting the Standard: Bill Bergen 149

“Noodles”: Frank Hahn 150

Chapter Five. 1902, American League

Mixed Luck and Rube Waddell: Philadelphia 156

Dashed Hopes: St. Louis 161 Misplaced Charity: Boston 164

Comiskey’s Machine Sputters 166

A Team Transformed: Cleveland 168

Not As Good As Advertised: Washington 170 

A Team Too Fiery: Detroit 173

Orioles and Patriots 176

A Golden Glove: Jimmy Collins 180

“Scoops”: George Carey 184

An ­All-American Guy: Dave Fultz 186

Welcome to the Big Leagues, Mr. Joss 189

Chapter Six. 1903, National League

Stumbling Toward Peace 193

Still Good Enough: Pittsburgh 199 

A Successful “Con” Job: New York 202

Selee Builds a Contender: Chicago 205

Costly Altruism: Cincinnati 208

The Stars Said “Goodbye”: Brooklyn 210

A Painful Season: Boston 214

Tragedy and Disappointment: Philadelphia 216

At Least the Grandstand Didn’t Collapse: St. Louis 218

Poor Control: Mike Donlin 221

A Quiet Hero: Deacon Phillippe 227

Chapter Seven. 1903, American League

Paying More, Getting Less 232

A Nebraska Cyclone in Boston 233

Not Enough Pixie Dust: Philadelphia 238

Too Many E’s: Cleveland 240

Not Quite Ready: New York 243

Kerosene: Detroit 245

Seriously ­Off-Track: St. Louis 248

Playing Ugly: Chicago 250

The Passing of a Great Player: Washington 253

The Man They Fought Over: George Davis 255

Bill Bradley, B.I. 259

Count Your Cows: Kid Elberfeld 262

“Socks”: Ralph

Seybold 265

Don’t Tread on Griff: Clark Griffith 267

Chapter Notes    273

Bibliography    281

Index    283

Book Reviews & Awards

Co-Winner, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR