1906 Washington Nationals
Manager: Jake Stahl 2nd Season (2nd with Washington 119-182-4)
55 W 95 L 1 T 519 RS 665 RA 7th AL 37.5 GB (Chicago White Sox 93-58-3)
3.43 RPG (AL = 3.67) 3.25 ERA (AL = 2.69)
.684 DER (7th AL)
Franchise (1901-1906) 322-536-20
Another Second Division Finish
In its sixth season of existence, the Washington American League Franchise continued its string of futility. In the best season in team history, 1901, they won at a .459 percentage. The 1906 version of the team likely envied the success of the first season, finishing with a .367 winning percentage.
Over the first six years, Washington never finished closer to first place than 20 games. After sixth place finishes in the first two seasons, the team has taken up permanent residence in seventh and eighth place in the eight team American League.
For manager Jake Stahl’s part, his .395 career winning percentage makes him the most successful manager in team history, which isn’t saying much considering that he is only the second of five skippers to hold the job for more than a season.
1906 Uniforms from Baseballhalloffame.org
Franchise Best Streak
Despite the lowly finish, for six days in August Washington fans were treated to winning streak they hadn’t seen since the birth of the franchise. From May 11-17, 1901, Washington rattled off six straight wins; four at Boston and two at home against Philadelphia. Washington would not see another such streak until August 3-8, 1906.
Fri, Aug 3: Washington 1, St. Louis 0
Sat, Aug 4: Washington 2, St. Louis 0
Mon, Aug 6: Washington 5, Detroit 4
Tue, Aug 7: Washington 6, Detroit 5
Wed, Aug 8: Game 1 Washington 6, Detroit 0; Game 2 Washington 7, Detroit 4
The entire streak came on the road, so Washington fans didn’t get a chance to see it. At the beginning of the stretch the Nationals were 33-58, 24 games out of first place. At the end of the day on August 8, they were 39-58, 20 games behind.
Washington would not see another streak of at least six games for another six years.
Once again the Nationals finished at or near to bottom of the league in attendance. They averaged 1,732 per game according to baseball-reference.com, easily worst in the league.
After years of eating up innings as the “staff ace” but not pitching particularly well, Case Patten had his best season in 1906.
1901 18-10 3.93 ERA 1.41 WHIP 93 ERA+
1902 17-16 4.05 ERA 1.40 WHIP 92 ERA +
1903 11-22 3.60 ERA 1.30 WHIP 87 ERA +
1904 14-23 3.07 ERA 1.25 WHIP 86 ERA +
1905 14-22 3.14 ERA 1.25 WHIP 84 ERA +
1906 19-16 2.17 ERA 1.18 WHIP 122 ERA +
Patten’s ERA in 1906 was more than a full run below his career average. ERA + is a measure from baseball-reference that essentially puts ERA in context of era, with 100 being average. After a career of being well below average in relationship to the league, Patten was well above average in 1906.
1906 World Series
Chicago fans got a look at one of the best teams in baseball history. The 1906 Cubs won a record 116 games in 1906, shattering the former record held by the Giants of 106 (1904). The Cubbies were shocked in the World Series, however, by the team from across town. The White Sox upset the heavily favored Cubs in six games.
Bold = player new to Washington in 1906
C Howard Wakefield .280/.303/.355 1 HR -0.7 BFW 7 WS
Wakefield only played 36 major league games outside of the 1906 season.
1B Jake Stahl .222/.266/.274 0 HR -2.3 BFW 8 WS
This would be the end of his first stint as a manager. Stahl continued to play, but did not manage again until 1912. That year, his Boston Red Sox won the World Series.
2B Larry Schlafly .246/.345/.329 2 HR 3.1 BFW 19 WS
Schlafly was a lifer in baseball, though he only played parts of four seasons in the major leagues. He spent much of his career (1901-1919) in the minor leagues, but also had a stint managing in the Federal League, spent some time as an umpire, as a scout, and even owned a few minor league teams.
Larry Schlafly shows off the 1906 road blue uniform
1906 was his signature season. He hit for modest average through his career (.240), but was particularly adept at getting on base (.349 career OBP). In 1906 he led the AL in HBP (14) and walked 50 times in 511 PA’s.
Though he was named captain early in 1907, he was placed on waivers in June of that year. Though Schlafly was claimed by Boston, he never played in the AL again.
SS Dave Altizer .256/.324/.307 1 HR -1.1 BFW 15 WS
By the time his career was over in 1911, Altizer had played every position except pitcher and catcher.
3B Lave Cross .263/.303/.322 1 HR -0.1 BFW 16 WS
His career began in 1887 with Louisville of the American Association. Cross, at the age of 40, was purchased by the Nationals to play third base, the position he spent most of his career playing despite starting behind the plate.
LF John Anderson .271/.296/.343 3 HR -0.1 BFW 18 WS
Anderson spent the whole year playing left field, and playing it poorly by all accounts.
CF Charlie Jones .241/.283/.326 3 HR -0.7 BFW 12 WS
His best offensive season so far.
RF Charlie Hickman .284/.311/.421 9 HR 1.2 BFW 17 WS
Started at second base in 1905, was moved to right field for his second season in Washington. Continued to be one of the more consistent offensive performers on the team.
P Case Patten (L) 19-16 2.17 ERA 1.18 WHIP 0.8 PW 11 WS
P Cy Falkenberg 14-20 2.86 ERA 1.29 WHIP -0.8 PW 9 WS
After pitching in only 12 games in 1905, Falkenberg led the team in innings pitched, games, and games started in 1906.
P Tom Hughes 7-17 3.62 ERA 1.53 WHIP -2.6 PW 4 WS
In his second season in Washington, Hughes’ ERA ballooned by more than 1.3 runs from his first season.
P Charlie Smith 9-16 2.91 ERA 1.38 WHIP -1.2 BFW 6 WS
Smith pitched three games for Cleveland in 1902, then spent several years in the minor leagues before joining Washington in 1906 at the age of 26.
P Frank Kitson 6-14 3.65 ERA 1.28 WHIP -0.8 BFW 8 WS
Kitson was one of the top National League pitchers at the turn of the century, putting together a string of good years with Baltimore and Brooklyn. He fell off a bit when he switched to the American League in 1903, where he played with the Tigers for three years before being traded to Washington for Happy Townsend.