The Franchise 1901

1901 Washington
Manager: Jim Manning 1st Season (1st with Washington 61-72-5)
61 W 72 L 5 T 682 RS 771 RA 6th AL 20.5 GB (Chicago 83-53-1)
4.94 RPG (AL Avg = 5.35) 4.09 ERA (AL Avg = 3.66)
.662 DER (4th AL)

A New League, A New Franchise
After the National League contracted four team in 1899, Washington D.C. found itself without a baseball team. For nine seasons Washington was home to the Senators. In 1891, the Senators began play in the American Association. The team moved to the National League the following year, and played there until the franchise was contracted in 1899. During its eight years of existence, the SenatorsNL franchise never had a winning season and went through 13 different managers.

Washington’s baseball drought wouldn’t last long. When Ban Johnson announced that he would start a league to compete with the National League, he awarded franchised to three of the four cities who lost teams in 1899. Among those cities was the nation’s capital.

Nickname?
Officially, the team was called the Washington American League Franchise, but was often referred to as the Senators, the same name at its NL predecessor. The team would have no official nickname until 1905.

al_1901_washington.gif
from baseballhalloffame.org’s “Dressed to the Nines” exhibit

A New Ballpark
Three days later, Washington would play its first home game. Though National Park was still standing, the National League still had the rights to the site, and were not about to let Ban Johnson’s new league use it. Jim Manning, formerly manager of the Western League’s Kansas City Blues, chose a site for the new American League Park on circus grounds, located at the corner of Florida Avenue and Trinidad Avenue.

Washington Originals
Most of the 1901 roster was made up of players who jumped from the National League. There were three players who played for Washington in 1901 who had been a part of the National League Club. “Scranton” Bill Coughlin (guess where he was from…) played six games for the Senators in 1899, and became the starting thirdbaseman for the new Washington team when his contract was purchased from Manning’s former team in Kansas City.

Jack O’Brien got significantly more playing time for the 1899 version as the starting left fielder, but only played 11 games for the new team before being purchased by Cleveland.

Pitcher Win Mercer played the most for the original team, playing six seasons as a member of the NL Senators. He had his best seasons in 1896 and 1897, when he compiled 45 wins against 38 losses with a below league average ERA both seasons (4.13, 3.24). Mercer, then 26 years old, played the 1900 season with the New York Giants before jumping to the new league prior to 1901.

mercer_win.gif
Win Mercer from Baseball Library

Roster/Stats
Starters

C Boileryard Clarke .280/.335/.360 3 HR 0.2 BFW 12 WS
Clark was a member of three pennant winning Baltimore Orioles teams from 1894-1896. Boileryard served mostly as a backup on those teams that also included names like Willie Keeler and John McGraw.

1B Mike Grady .285/.351/.470 9 HR 1.9 BFW 14 WS
Grady was a journeyman player by 1901. The 31 year old first baseman had already played for three different teams over the first seven years of his career. Considered a very poor fielder, though he also served as the backup catcher.

2B Joe Quinn .252/.287/.331 2 HR -1.5 BFW 4 WS
John Farrell .272/.336/.386 3 HR 0.7 BFW 17 WS
The 36 year old veteran Quinn began the season as Manning’s starting 2B. Quinn had been in baseball for 18 years, and had some experience managing in recent years. The Australian-born Quinn was replaced by John Farell when the team acquired Irv Waldron to play CF in the middle of the season.

SS Billy Clingman .242/.308/.304 2 HR 0.7 BFW 13 WS
Clingman, the only switch-hitter on the team, was a veteran of eight seasons when he jumped to the new league. Clingman had a solid defensive reputation, made mostly at third base, but was probably past his prime.

3B Bill Coughlin .275/.317/.395 6 HR 0.3 BFW 15 WS
Had a brief stint with the original Senators, but this was the 22 year-old’s first full season.

LF Pop Foster .278/.352/.411 6 HR 0.1 BFW 13 WS
Foster, another 22 year-old, had a solid season at the plate, but was let go before the season ended. He would be picked by the White Sox for the remainder of the season, but did not play another game after 1901. He is probably better known for his work in Princeton’s Phy Ed department later in his life.

CF John Farrell
Irv Waldron .322/.368/.383 0 HR -0.1 BFW 9 WS
Farrell started his rookie season in centerfield, but was later moved to 2B when Waldron was acquired. This was Waldron’s only season in ML baseball.

RF Sam Dungan .320/.368/.415 1 HR 0.5 BFW 17 WS
Dungan won the 1900 AL batting title, the year before the league became a major league. He finished 10th in the 1901 batting race, and didn’t play another game after that season.

P Bill Carrick 14-22 3.75 ERA 1.42 WHIP -0.8 PW 18 WS
Carrick pitched for the New York Giants for three seasons before jumping to the new league. 1901 was his third straight year losing 20+ games. Still, his 324 IP easily led the team, and he was the winning pitcher in Washington’s very first AL game.

P Watty Lee (L) 16-16 4.40 ERA 1.42 WHIP -1.6 PW 14 WS
In addition to his pitching duties, the rookie Lee also appeared in the outfield seven times in 1901. The following year he became a regular in the outfield, while taking the mound only 13 times.

P Case Patten (L) 18-10 3.93 ERA 1.41 WHIP -1.2 PW 14 WS
This was also Patten’s rookie season, the first of eight seasons with Washington. He finished 1901 5th in the AL in winning percentage (.643), and 2nd in K/9IP (3.86).

P Win Mercer 9-13 4.56 ERA 1.49 WHIP -0.9 PW 13 WS
Mercer played the 1902 season with Detroit, and was named their player-manager prior to the 1903 season. He would never manage a game. Mercer killed himself with poison gas before the season started.

P Dale Gear 4-11 4.03 ERA 1.36 WHIP -0.3 PW 9 WS
Gear also played 35 games in the outfield for Washington. His worst game came on August 10, when he gave up 41 total bases (including four doubles, four triples, and two home runs) to Philadelphia in a 13-0 loss. He did not appear in any ML games after 1901.

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