1911 Washington Nationals
Manager: Jimmy McAleer 11th Season (2nd with Washington 130-175-6)
64 W 90 L 624 RS 765 RA 7th AL 38.5 GB (Philadelphia 101-50-1)
4.06 RPG (AL = 4.61) 3.52 ERA (AL = 3.34)
.656 DER (8th AL)
Franchise (1901-1911) 610-1008-36
1911 Uniforms from baseballhallffame.org
The roster remained pretty consistent for the third year in a row, and that was reflected again in the results. The main problem for the team again was a lack of offense, but the non-Walter Johnson members of the pitching staff fell off from the previous year, making 1911 another miserable year for the franchise.
The bright spots for the Nationals remained the same as well. Walter Johnson was the star, putting up another great season. Clyde Milan was the leader of the offense, while George McBride continued to dazzle with his defense.
The two Washington standouts, Johnson and Milan, were also close friends off the field.
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1911
C Gabby Street .222/.279/.264 0 HR 0.1 BFW 4 WS 29 FRAR 2.4 WARP3
In his final season with the Nats, the 28-year-old veteran shared time with two second-year players: Eddie Ainsmith and John Henry. That duo will share catching duties for most of the decade ahead.
1B Germany Schaefer .334/.412/.398 0 HR 1.8 BFW 19 WS 19 FRAR 5.8 WARP3
A well known character of the game, Schaefer came to Washington in the 1909 Jim Delahanty trade. He was a veteran of several Detroit’s pennant-winning teams of the 1900’s, but wasn’t known much for his bat. 1911 was easily his best season at the plate, but it was also his only year as a regular for Washington. He would basically fill a utility role for the rest of his career.
2B Bill Cunningham .190/.239/.278 3 HR -3.4 BFW 2 WS -2 FRAR -2.0 WARP3 Cunningham had some success in 21 games as a rookie in 1910. His 1911 season can be described as anything but a success. Kid Elberfield was the backup, and a superior hitter (.272/.405/.339 0 HR 2.2 BFW 17 WS). One might assume that Cunningham was good defensively, but the numbers indicate that Elberfield was more sure-handed and probably better at turning the double play. It isn’t clear why Cunningham played so much (the fact that Elberfield was 36 years old may be a clue, and Elberfield also backed up a 34-year-old at third base); but he was clearly the worst hitter on the worst hitting team in the American League. Cunningham will play eight more games in his major league career after 1911.
SS George McBride .235/.312/.269 0 HR 1.2 BFW 11 WS 42 FRAR 3.7 WARP3
Despite poor numbers at the plate, McBride recieved a vote for MVP in 1911, indicating how respected he was for his defense. He played every single game for Washington, all at shortstop.
3B Wid Conroy .232/.282/.304 2 HR -0.9 BFW 5 WS 9 FRAR 0.2 WARP3
Conroy’s final major league season.
LF Tilly Walker .278/.311/.334 2 HR -1.6 BFW 6 WS 1 FRAR 0.2 WARP3
Walker, a 23-year-old rookie, would only play part time in the Washington outfield in 1912. He became one of the league’s best power hitters when he moved on from Washington, playing for four different AL teams over his 14-year career. From 1914-1922, he was among the lead home run leaders each year, tying Babe Ruth for the league lead in 1918. Walker spent his last six seasons with Philadlephia, where, in his final season (a year after he hit 37 home runs), he was essentially benched by Connie Mack due to Mack’s belief that the home run was a fad.
CF Clyde Milan .315/.395/.394 3 HR 1.8 BFW 27 WS 16 FRAR 6.3 WARP3
This is the season that Milan established himself as one of the top center fielders in baseball. He played in every game and had his best offensive season to date. Milan also broke out as a baserunner, finishing second in AL stolen bases with 58. He continued to show outstanding range in center, and totaled 33 assists by the end of the season. Milan also gained some respect around the league, finishing 9th in MVP voting. The best news for the Nats: at 24 years of age he had a long career ahead of him.
RF Doc Gessler .282/.406/.373 4 HR 0.4 BFW 18 WS -1 FRAR 3.4 WARP3
Gessler’s 4 home runs and 78 RBI in his final season were enough to lead the team.
P Walter Johnson 25-13 1.90 ERA 1.12 WHIP 5.4 PW 31 WS 10.0 WARP3
Johnson, now a superstar, actually held out for a contract at the beginning of the 1911 season. It didn’t last long, as he signed a 3-year deal worth $7,000 a year around opening day. The hold out did mean that Johnson missed the opening day start for Washington. The next time that would happen isn’t until 1922. Other notable events in 1911 include Johnson’s first career over-the-fence home run surrendered on April 28, an appearance in for the AL All-Stars in a benefit game for Addie Joss’s family, and a 14 strikeout performance in a All-Star exhibition against the Lincoln Giants from the Negro Leagues. Johnson finished 2nd in AL ERA, and led the league in complete games (36) and shutouts (6); including an 11 inning gem over the White Sox on August 4.
The 1911 AL All-Stars. Johnson (4th from left, top) was joined by Washington teammates Milan (7th from left, top), Schaefer (1st from left, bottom), Street (6th from left, bottom), and manager McAleer (middle front).
P Bob Groom 13-17 3.82 ERA 1.36 WHIP -1.7 PW 11 WS 1.0 WARP3
Once again the drop between Johnson and the rest of the pitching staff was a massive one. Groom, in his third season, held steady as a slightly below average pitcher. The low point of his career came on May 11, when he allowed 20 runs in a loss at Chicago.
P Tom Hughes 11-17 3.47 ERA 1.47 WHIP -0.9 PW 10 WS 0.9 WARP3
Hughes, one of the more consistent pitchers for the first decade of Washington’s existence (that’s not saying much), returned to Washington for the 1911 season. At the age of 32, he had one good year left (1912) before retiring.
P Dixie Walker 8-13 3.39 ERA 1.37 WHIP 0.0 PW 11 WS 1.6 WARP3
This was Walker’s best season in the major leagues. He would appear in only nine games the following year, which would close the book on his major league career.
P Dolly Gray 2-13 5.06 ERA 1.65 WHIP -2.1 PW 1 WS -1.3 WARP3
1911 was the curtain call for a very undistinguished career. In three seasons, Gray finished 15-51 3.52 ERA with a -2.0 WARP3. Dolly Gray did win on opening day in lieu of Walter Johnson. Gray will be remembered most for setting the major league mark for consecutive walks with seven; a record that wouldn’t be equaled until 1983.
1911 World Series
Frank Baker earned the nickname “Home Run Baker” with a two homer performance in Philadelphia’s 6-game World Series win over John McGraw’s New York Giants. The win for the AL team means that each league has won four championships.