The Boston Americans raise their 1903 Championship flag at the Huntington Avenue Grounds
The Boston Americans won their 2nd straight American League pennant, and unfortunately because the NY Giants, a la John McGraw and John Brush, decided to act like children in a sandbox, they did not get to vie for their 2nd World Series Championship. The Americans will get their chance for redemption in the upcoming World Series Revisited. In 1903 the Americans bested the Pirates in 8 games, but in the World Series Revisited world they lost the 1903 Replay in 7 games.
The Americans won the pennant by 1.5 games over the NY Highlanders, but they battled them all the way to the final series of the season. The Highlanders needed to sweep the Americans in a double header played on the final day. Jack Chesbro took his 41 wins to the mound for the Highlanders and lost to the Americans on a much publicized wild pitch(probably a spit ball) in the 9th inning. The Highlanders would have to wait until 1921 for an AL pennant, when they were called the NY Yankees.
Much of the World Series winning team would return for the 1904 season. Lou Criger, Candy LaChance, Hobe Ferris, Jimmy Collins, Buck Freeman, Chick Stahl, Cy Young and Bill Dineen among others would all be back. Patsy Dougherty would return but he was traded to the NY Highlanders in June.
Jesse Tannehill joined the Americans via a trade from the Highlanders during the off season. Tom Hughes would take his 20 wins in 1903 and join the Pirates.
Offensively the Americans hit .247, good for just 4th in the AL, as were their 26 home runs. They scored 608 runs good for 2nd.
They were led by Freddy Parent at shortstop. His .291 average was best on the team, while his 6 home runs and 77 rbi were good for 2nd on the team. The power hitting Buck Freeman paced the team with 7 home runs and 84 rbi. Player/manager Jimmie Collins hit .271. Outfielder Kip Selbach came over from the Senators in July, and would take over for the traded Patsy Dougherty.
Pitching is what really made this team successful. Cy Young(26-16, 1.97) Bill Dineen(23-14, 2.20), and Jesse Tannehill(21-11, 2.04) all won 20 games and should be the reason the Americans either win or lose to the Giants in this upcoming series. Their 2.12 team ERA was the best in the league.
1904 NY Giants
The 1904 NY Giants won their 1st of 8 NL pennants under Manager John McGraw, while winning a then NL record 106 games. They led the league with a .262 average, 31 home runs, 744 runs scored and for good measure they stole a league leading 283 bases. They led the league with a 2.17 team ERA, 21 shutouts and 707 strikeouts. And then they went home.
Giants owner John Brush and manager John McGraw put their egos together and decided that the World Series would not take place. McGraw later claimed that this was all Brush’s doings, but McGraw was not a big fan of AL President Ban Johnson, and he was very vocal in his opinion that the AL was still a minor league organization. When the Giants had a double digit lead over the Cubs in late July, the crosstown rival NY Highlanders were also in 1st place in the AL. Neither Brush nor McGraw wanted to share the glory with another NY team, and also didn’t want to take any chance in losing to that team, so they announced that they would not be participating in any post season play. When the Americans edged out the Highlanders on the last weekend of the season, I would imagine that both Brush and McGraw regretted blowing off what could have been a pretty nice payday.
There would not be another year without a World Series until 1994. Baseball’s World Series would survive 2 World Wars, and a boat load of “military actions” but it didn’t survive the battle between the millionaires and billionaires.
Offensively the Giants made a couple of key moves that greatly improved their team. Art Devlin signed on as a rookie and would become the Giants full time 3rd baseman, hitting .281 with 81 runs scored and 33 stolen bases. Shortstop Bill Dahlen arrived via a trade with the Brooklyn Superbas. Dahlen provided solid defense while hitting .268 and driving in a team leading 80 runs. In August Mike Donlin joined the team via a 3 way trade that involved the Reds and the Pirates. Moose McCormick would go to the Pirates, while Jimmy Sebring would go to the Reds. Donlin hit .280 in 42 games with the Giants.
Roger Bresnahan hit .284 with 5 home runs while playing most of his games in the outfield. Bresnahan would not play a single game at catcher. He would play over 800 games at catcher over the next 9 seasons.
Dan McGann hit .286 with a team leading 6 home runs at 1st base. Sam Mertes led the team with 11 triples and 28 doubles while hitting .276.
The pitching staff for the Giants was outstanding. Christy Mathewson went 33-12 with a 2.03 ERA and was not even the best pitcher on the team. Joe McGinnity went 35-8 with a 1.61 ERA in 408 IPs. Dummy Taylor was the 3rd member of the staff to win 20 games, he finished with 21 wins and a 2.34 ERA. Rookie Hooks Wiltse went 13-3 while appearing in 24 games.
On paper the Giants should win this World Series replay, 110 years too late. Personally I’m a huge fan of Christy Mathewson, but not of John McGraw, so I’m conflicted on who I want to win. The Americans deserve to win, but so does Christy Mathewson. So let’s just hope for a 7 game series.