The Franchise 1904

1904 Washington
Managers:
Malachi Kittredge 1st Season (1st with Washington 1-16-1)
Patsy Donovan 6th Season (1st with Washington 37-97-5)
38 W 113 L 6 T 437 RS 743 RA 8th AL 55.5 GB (Boston Americans 95-59-3)
2.78 RPG (AL AVG = 3.54) 3.62 ERA (AL = 2.60)
.662 DER (8th AL)

Franchise (1901-1904) 203-354-16

The Ownership Shuffle
Frederick Postal had been the majority owner and team president since the team began play in 1901, but dumped his share late in the night of August of 1903. Interestingly, the only other party present that night was American League President Ban Johnson. From then until the beginning of the 1904 season, Washington’s ownership was a giant question mark, and the team was essentially begin run by the American League and Ban Johnson.

For a time Tom Loftus, last year’s manager, was team President in title, but it was determined by Johnson late in the offseason that Loftus was not the right man for the job.

It wasn’t until March 24th that the matter was decided. The stock once controlled by Loftus and the American League was purchased by two local men: Thomas Noyes and William Dwyer. The new owners immediately named Wilton Lambert president of the club.

The Manager Shuffle
Lambert’s first move was to hire Patsy Donovan to manage the team. Due to the ownership confusion, the offer was not extended in time for the season, and Donovan was unable to make it for the first month or so. Washington lost its first 13 games and was 1-16 when Donovan arrived to manage the team on May 11. Prior to that date, catcher Malachi Kittridge served as acting manager. Shortly before Donovan arrived to the team, it was announced that Kittridge was to be traded to New York along with Kip Selbach for two inferior players from the Highlanders.

Donovan’s first move as manager was to call off the Kittridge trade, saying that it was bad business to exchange two of the best players for lesser talent. The move angered New York manager Calvin Griffith, but he was unable to do anything about it.

stahl.jpg
Jake Stahl had to endure the 1904 season in Washington

A Terrible Season
Though Patsy Donovan was considered a “first-class” manager by the Washington Post, his presence was not enough to even gather a respectable season from this group of players. In what is by far the worst season in the young history of the franchise, the 1904 club had to scrape to win 25% of its games. Washington finished 55.5 games out of first, and 23.5 games behind the seventh place Detroit Tigers.

al_1904_washington.gif

1904 should have been, in just about every way, a rebuilding year for the franchise. Unfortunately, due to the offseason turmoil, the rebuilding didn’t start until the middle of the season, and the results were hardly surprising. In the end it was a forgettable year in Washington, and the rebuilding project was essentially pushed out a year, to 1905.

World Series Cancelled
The Boston Americans were able to repeat their pennant victory of 1903, but did not have a chance to repeat as World Series champions. The National League champion Giants refused to play the series due to manager John McGraw’s dislike for American League president Ban Johnson.

Roster/Stats
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1904

C Malachi Kittridge .242/.266/.268 0 HR -0.7 BFW 3 WS
Will forever carry a 1-16 record as a manager.

1B Jake Stahl .262/.309/.381 3 HR 1.3 BFW 18 WS
Stahl played 40 games for AL Champion Boston in his first season, and saw the other end of the spectrum with Washington in his second. He was probably the MVP of this team, which isn’t saying much. Stahl was a rarity in that he had a college degree and was independently wealthy, so he was not playing baseball to feed his famliy.

2B Barry McCormick .218/.274/.250 0 HR -1.1 BFW 4 WS
McCormick’s second year in Washington was enough for him. He retired after the 1904 season.

SS Joe Cassidy .241/.265/.332 1 HR -0.1 BFW 11 WS
One of the bright spots for Washington was the potential shortstop of the future. Cassidy belted 19 triples in 1904, a rookie record that still stands in 2006. One of the few player to start in the majors with no minor league experience, Cassidy was known mostly for his flashy defense. The 21 year old seemed ready for a great career.

3B Hunter Hill .197/.228/.224 0 HR -2.3 BFW 1 WS
Hill started the season with the St. Louis Browns, but missed a chunk of time due to the mumps. Washington acquired him in July to replace Bill Coughlin, who was sold to Detroit for $8000.

LF Frank Huelsman .248/.313/.356 2 HR 0.0 BFW 9 WS
Huelsman spent time with three other teams in 1904 before landing the left fielder spot for Washington.

CF Bill O’Neill .244/.294/.285 1 HR -2.2 BFW 7 WS
Washington ended up trading Kip Selbach to Boston for O’Neill, who was gone after the 1904 season.

RF Patsy Donovan .229/.271/.243 0 HR -1.6 BFW 3 WS
Donovan would have probably rather forgotten about the 1904 season, as a player and a manager.

P Case Patten (L) 14-23 3.07 ERA 1.25 WHIP -2.1 PW 8 WS
He lost more than 20 games for the second consecutive season.

P Happy Townsend 5-26 3.58 ERA 1.44 WHIP -3.4 PW 4 WS
The leading loser on a historically bad team, the fact that Townsend got a shot to play in 1905 says alot about the lack of pitching depth in Washington.

P Beany Jacobson (L) 6-23 3.55 ERA 1.31 WHIP -3.0 PW 4 WS
The rookie Jacobson was the third of the 20 game + losers.

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