1916: Gandil Sold

February 14, 2012

February 15, 1916

Arnold Gandil, whose usefulness to the Washington Club ended when Manager Griffith declared that Joe Judge was the man for the job, finally has been disposed of …. had been sold outright to Cleveland.

Chick Gandil had been regarded as one of the best first basemen in baseball during his time in Washington, but managed to fall out of favor with Clark Griffith, possibly due to Gandil’s habit of smoking in between innings. Just four years prior, Griffith had called Gandil the “missing link” in his infield and gave him credit for turning the team around in 1912.

Griffith got $5,000 in exchange for Gandil, which was reportedly about half what he could have gotten had Gandil cleared American League waivers and landed with the Boston Braves. Though Chick had made a name for himself in Washington, he wasn’t the highest profile signing by Cleveland in the offseason. The Naps also brought in Tris Speaker.

Gandil, of course, is now known more for his role in the Black Sox scandal than his time with Washington. It was in his first season in Washington, 1912, that Gandil first met gambler Joseph “Sport” Sullivan, who would be a key figure in the scandal.

Read More:

BIOProject – biography by Daniel Ginsburg


1915: A Run With No At Bats

August 23, 2010

August 22, 1915

According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, this is the only time it has ever happened. It came in the second inning of game one of a double header.

First, Chick Gandil and Merit Acosta drew consecutive walks. Buff Williams sacrificed the runners to second and third with a bunt. George McBride then plated Gandil with a sacrifice fly, but the Tigers caught Acosta off second base with the throw from the outfield. One run, three outs, no at bats.


1915: A Run with Zero At-Bats

August 21, 2009

Sunday August 22, 1915

According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology at baseballlibrary.com, the Nats became the only team to ever score a run in an inning that did not include a single at-bat:

In the 2nd inning of game one of a doubleheader versus Detroit‚ the crowd sees the Senators score a run with no times at bat‚ the only time its ever happened. Chick Gandil and Merito Acosta walk; Buff Williams sacrifices‚ and George McBride hits a sacrifice fly‚ scoring Gandil‚ and the Tigers catch Acosta off 2B when OF Bobby Veach throws to Ossie Vitt. Washington’s Walter Johnson goes on to win‚ 8-1‚ and snap the Tigers’ 9-game win streak.


1914: A Riot in Detroit

July 30, 2009

Thursday July 30, 1914

From the New York Times:

RIOT ON DETROIT BALL FIELD

Washington Players in Fight with Umpire Sheridan and Spectators

DETROIT, July 30 – One of the most disorderly scenes ever witnessed on the local ball field was enacted during the ninth inning of today’s game between Washington and Detroit, which the home club won, 3 to 2, in the 10th inning.

The trouble started when Morgan was called out at first base by Umpire Sheridan. In recovering himself from a slide he started toward the umpire. Sheridan struck Morgan and several Washington players joined in the combat.

Catcher Ainsmith was said to have struck Sheridan, who was held by several players from both teams. Sheridan ordered Ainsmith and Morgan off the field, and as the two players were passing the grandstand a spectator added something which Ainsmith resented. He jumped into the stand and blows were exchanged. Catcher Henry attempted to pull Ainsmith from the stand and a chair thrown by a spectator struck Henry on the head.

It took police reserves some time to calm things down, particularly after the spectators began charging onto the field. Order was eventually restored and the game resumed.


An 18-inning Shutout

May 17, 2007

May 15, 1918

Walter Johnson had already accomplished a lot of remarkable things in his career by the time his 12th major league season rolled around. Somehow, he managed to find a record that he hadn’t broken yet, and did so against the Chicago White Sox during a May game in Washington.

Johnson had 71 career shutouts when play started in 1918, so he was no stranger to a scoreless game. While Johnson held the White Sox without a run for nine innings, Lefty Williams matched him inning-for-inning.

Through nine innings, the score was 0-0.

Both pitchers remained in the game. This was the deadball era, of course, and there were no pitch counts for another 60 years. The scoreless string continued through almost another nine innings.

As the teams headed for the bottom of the 18th inning, Johnson had allowed no runs on 10 hits. He must have had enough pitching, because Johnson singled to put runners at first and third. It was Johnson’s only hit in seven at-bats that day, but it put the Nats in position to win.

The winning run scored when Williams threw a wild pitch, scoring Eddie Ainsmith from third base. Aside from the 18-inning shutout, this game was unique in that there were no substitutions and no errors in the game.

According to the Sporting News, the 18 scoreless innings pitched for Johnson made a streak of 31 consecutive scoreless innings for the Washington ace.

The shutout was the longest ever in the major leagues at the time. It was equaled by Carl Hubbell in 1933, but has never been surpassed.


The All-Franchise Team 1911-1920

May 4, 2007

C John Henry 1911-1918 21.9 WARP3
Henry makes this team based on his defense. His defense stood out in an era where catcher defense was a commodity, and he caught Walter Johnson during his finest seasons.

1B Joe Judge 1915-1920 22.9 WARP3
Judge struggled a bit out of the gate, but by the end of the decade he was a solid player at first base. Just edged out his predecessor at first base, Chick Gandil. Judge will be a regular through the 1930’s.

2B Ray Morgan 1911-1918 19.6 WARP3
It’s not the Morgan had such a great decade, he just held the second base position for so long there weren’t any other candidates.

SS George McBride 1911-1916 26.1 WARP3
41, 50, 50, 54, 43, and 53. That was McBride’s FRAR from 1911-1916, when he was the best fielding short stop in baseball.

3B Eddie Foster 1912-1919 35.4 WARP3
He didn’t have any seasons that really stood out, but was a solid player for the bulk of the decade, and the only real choice at third.

LF Mike Menosky 1916-1919 7.6 WARP3
He only played regularly for two seasons, but he was a run producer for a team that had precious few, and makes this team based on the strength of those two seasons.

CF Clyde Milan 1911-1920 40.9 WARP3
Milan was the only center fielder Washington had for most of the decade, and he was the only one the team needed. His peak seasons came at the beginning of the decade.

RF Sam Rice 1915-1920 23.0 WARP3
Rice was another player from whom the Nationals would get production for many years to come.

P Walter Johnson 1911-1920 130.5 WARP3
The best years of Walter Johnson’s career came during this decade. Even at his worst, towards the end of the decade, Johnson was among the best in the league.

P Jim Shaw 1913-1920 26.8 WARP3
Aside from Walter Johnson, Shaw was the most consistent pitcher over the decade.

P Harry Harper 1913-1919 13.5 WARP3
Harper’s inclusion on this team demonstrates a decade-long lack of depth behind the ace.

P Doc Ayers 1913-1919 15.4 WARP3
After starting most of his games in 1913 and 1914, Ayers was moved to the bullpen by Clark Griffith. He was one of the first versions of the bullpen ace.


The Franchise 1920

May 1, 2007

1920 Washington Nationals
logo12-27.gif
Manager: Clark Griffith 20th Season (9th with Washington 693-646-24)
68 W 84 L 1 T 723 RS 802 RA 6th AL 29 GB (Cleveland 98-56)
4.73 RPG (AL = 4.76) 4.17 ERA (AL = 3.79)
.675 DER (7th AL)

Franchise (1901-1920) 1303-1654-60

Clark Griffith had been around organized baseball most of his life. He signed his first pro contract at the age of 18, and was in the major leagues by the time he was 21. He was a very good pitcher, his best season being 1898 with Chicago when he went 24-10 with a 1.88 ERA.

Griffith was one of Ban Johnson’s good friends, and a key figure in the emergence of the American League at the turn of the century. For his help organizing the players, Griffith was named manager if the Chicago AL club in its first year of existence. He continued to manage and play regularly until he scaled back his own playing time in 1906.

griffith.jpg

Though he had a few stops along the way, Griffith found a home in Washington. He managed the Nats to their first winning season, and made the previously hapless team a yearly contender in the middle of the 1910’s. After a couple of tough seasons, Griffith decided that his managing days were over after the 1920 season.

Though his managing days were over, the story of Clark Griffith and Washington baseball was just beginning. Since 1912, he had slowly been purchasing shares of the team, and was the controlling owner by 1920. Clark Griffith and the Griffith family would continue to own and run the franchise until 1984.

Around the Majors, 1920 marked the end of the deadball era. In the AL, runs per game went up from about 3.5 to just above four a game in 1919; then to 4.75 in a year later. Total home runs went up from 240 in 1919 to 369 in 1920. The game was changing, and those teams that could keep up were going to be the most successful.

Roster/Stats
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1920

C Patsy Gharrity .245/.307/.322 3 HR -1.2 BFW 10 WS 40 FRAR 4.4 WARP3
1920 was Gharrity’s best season from a defensive perspective, but he lagged behind at the plate. As offense started picking up around the league, Gharrity’s 69 OPS+ stuck out like a sore thumb. His backup, Val Picinich, wasn’t an improvement with a 61 OPS+. Gharrity will show major improvement in 1921.

1B Joe Judge .333/.416/.462 5 HR 1.5 BFW 22 WS 6 FRAR 6.0 WARP3
Judge was probably the team’s best hitter in 1920. He had his personal best season at the plate since 1917, and 1920 could arguably be considered his career-best season at the plate. Twice during the month of May, Judge had five hits in a game. The first came on May 6th in a 6-5 win over the Yankees, the second on May 26 in a 13-9 victory over Cleveland.

2B Bucky Harris .300/.377/.381 1 HR -0.7 BFW 15 WS 31 FRAR 6.3 WARP3
It had been a while since the Nats had this much production from a second baseman. The 23-year old from Pittston, Pennsylvania came to the team in a trade that sent last year’s second baseman to Buffalo of the International League. His rookie season was probably his best at the plate, but Harris was solid fielder for his entire career in Washington.

harris.jpg
Bucky Harris

SS Jim O’Neill .289/.324/.405 1 HR -0.6 BFW 8 WS 17 FRAR 3.0 WARP3
O’Neill was the youngest of four brothers who were all involved in baseball, though none of them had a particularly distinguished playing record in the majors. His brother Steve is the most notable member of the family for his managing, most famously guiding the Detroit Tigers to a World Series victory in 1945, one of his 14 seasons as a manager. Jim, on the other hand, had a decent season in 1920, but wouldn’t have another at-bat until 1923, also his last season in the majors.

3B Frank Ellerbe .292/.331/.345 0 HR -1.2 BFW 7 WS 11 FRAR 1.9 WARP3
Ellerbe earned the nickname “Governor” because his father was the governor of South Carolina. He was traded to the St. Louis Browns in May of 1921, where he became a part of the 1922 pennant-winning team.

LF Clyde Milan .322/.364/.403 3 HR 0.0 BFW 14 WS 11 FRAR 3.9 WARP3
At the age of 33, Milan was well into his career downswing by 1920. He moved from center to left field, where he had some success, and was able to play 122 games total.

CF Sam Rice .338/.381/.428 3 HR 2.3 BFW 23 WS 20 FRAR 7.1 WARP3
Rice replaced Milan in center field for the 1920 season, and would stay there for three seasons before moving back to right in 1923. He had a 28-game hitting streak that was finally stopped on July 16. Arguably Washington’s most valuable player in 1920.

RF Braggo Roth .291/.395/.432 9 HR 0.5 BFW 18 WS -4 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
Washington was the fifth career stop for Roth since his debut in 1914. In his final season, 1921, Roth will play for the New York Yankees, meaning that his career will include playing for six of the eight AL teams. His nine home runs was not only a team high, but a career high for Roth.

UT Howie Shanks .268/.316/.363 4 HR -1.6 BFW 9 WS 11 FRAR 2.0 WARP3
Shanks was a true utility man. He played every position on the field at some point in 1920 except pitcher, catcher, and center field. Most of his time was spent at third base, where he played 63 games.

SP Walter Johnson 8-10 3.13 ERA 1.13 WHIP 1.3 PW 10 WS 4.1 WARP3
1920 was a season of ups and downs for the franchise player, though there was more down than up. On July 1 he pitched his first career no hitter, striking out 10 Red Sox in the process. Had it not been for a Bucky Harris error, Johnson would have pitched a perfect game. A few weeks later, Johnson was shut down for the season due to soreness in his pitching arm. His play past July would be limited to a few pinch-hitting appearances.

Though Johnson’s numbers look to be pretty bad by his standards, they aren’t as big a drop off as they might appear. His 1.49 ERA in 1919 came in a league with a total ERA of 3.01. The 3.13 ERA he posted in 1920, while a major drop for Johnson, was still well below the league’s 3.79 total mark. His ERA+ dropped from 214 in 1919 to 118 in 1920. In the context of Johnson’s career, 118 ERA+ is pretty low, and was a drop to be sure; but he was still among the best in the league.

The fact is, however, that from 1920 on, Johnson was a very good pitcher, but he was no longer the dominant pitcher he had been.

SP Jim Shaw 11-18 4.27 ERA 1.54 WHIP -1.1 PW 9 WS 3.5 WARP3
This would be “Grunting” Jim’s last full season in the major leagues. In 1921, at the age of 27, he will appear in just 15 games, and his 7.36 ERA will mean the end of his career.

SP Tom Zachary 15-16 3.77 ERA 1.40 WHIP 0.3 PW 14 WS 4.3 WARP3
When a team’s ERA trends the way Washington’s did from 1919 to 1920, it would seem that most of the pitchers on the team would have terrible seasons. The one bright spot was probably Tom Zachary. Though he was technically a rookie, he had played parts of two seasons already, including two starts with Philadelphia in 1918. His 1920 numbers weren’t great, but he was a solid pitcher in a year where they were becoming more rare.

SP Eric Erickson 12-16 3.84 ERA 1.50 WHIP -0.6 PW 11 WS 2.6 WARP3
Erickson improved slightly from his 1919 season, and will have his best year in 1921.

SP Harry Courtney 8-11 4.74 ERA 1.60 WHIP -1.7 PW 5 WS 0.3 WARP3
Courtney was impressive in three starts the season before, posting a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings pitched. That success did not translate into full season success, however, and it would all be down hill from here for the North Carolina native.

1920 World Series
Cleveland, behind three complete game victories by Stan Coveleski, defeated Brooklyn five games to two.


The Franchise 1919

April 24, 2007

1919 Washington Nationals
logo12-27.gif
Manager: Clark Griffith 19th Season (8th with Washington 625-562-23)
56 W 84 L 2 T 533 RS 570 RA 7th AL 32 GB (Chicago 88-52)
3.75 RPG (AL = 4.09) 3.01 ERA (AL = 3.22)
.686 DER (7th AL)

Franchise (1901-1919) 1235-1570-59

1919 was the worst season of Clark Griffith’s career in Washington. In fact, the .400 winning percentage is the worst by any Griffith managed team.

Once again, the biggest problem was a lack of offense. Washington scored 3.75 runs per game. If it weren’t for lowly Philadelphia (3.26), the Nats would have been last in AL run scoring. The pitching was again the strength of the team. A 3.01 team ERA was good enough to be third best in the AL. The defense was breaking down, however. Only Philadelphia kept the Nats out of the AL cellar in fielding percentage (.960) and DER (.686). The poor defensive numbers turned a team with the third best league ERA into only the third highest runs allowed in the league.

Washington was 14-36 in one run games over the course of the season. The offense was shut out 16 times, and was held to one run 21 times.

Walter Johnson was once again the most important player on the team. He had another great season, though he would return to earth from an incredible run of excellence in 1920. Sam Rice, Joe Judge, and Mike Menosky all had good years at the plate, but that was not enough to make up for the struggling batters that made up the team’s infield apart from first base.

During the dead ball era, little offense was expected from the middle infielders. Washington got even less than that. Their starting second baseman, Hal Janvrin, finished the season with 34 OPS+, by far the worst among league regulars. Howie Shanks and Eddie Foster at short stop and third base had 66 and 76 OPS+ respectively. The combined OPS+ at 2B, SS, and 3B was the worst in the league.

Needless to say, it was a good move by Griffith to bring in three new players for those positions in 1920, even though it was the biggest lineup turnover in his time with the team.

Roster/Stats
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1919

C Val Picinich .274/.330/.401 3 HR 1.7 BFW 7 WS 24 FRAR 4.1 WARP3
Picinich’s offensive numbers may not look that impressive on the surface, but his 1919 season may have been the best offensive season for a catcher in the 19-year history of the franchise (although he played in only 80 games. Picinich started his career in with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s, where he caught a no-hitter thrown by Joe Bush in his rookie season of 1916. He made his way to Washington where, for most of his five seasons, he was a backup catcher. Picinich shared the catching duties in 1919 with…

C Patsy Gharrity .271/.325/.366 2 HR 0.0 BFW 9 WS 15 FRAR 3.1 WARP3
Gharrity logged a lot more playing time than Picinich; but that was due to his versatility. Aside from the 60 games he played behind the plate, he also appeared in the outfield 33 times, and at first base seven times. Gharrity quickly became Walter Johnson’s favorite catcher, meaning that he would start with Picinich as a backup for the first few years of the 1920’s.

1B Joe Judge .288/.386/.409 2 HR 1.4 BFW 17 WS 2 FRAR 5.3 WARP3
His number came up from a disappointing 1918 campaign, particularly his OBP which rose 54 points. Judge’s OBP will stay in the high .300’s until his career winds down in the early 1930’s. Though he has a great defensive reputation, Judge’s FRAR remains low.

2B Hal Janvrin .178/.253/.221 1 HR -4.3 BFW 0 WS -1 FRAR -1.3 WARP3
Washington acquired Janvrin in the offseason from Boston in exchange for Eddie Ainsmith and pitcher George Dumont. He didn’t last long in Washington. After putting up horrible numbers in 61 games, he was traded to Buffalo of the International League in exchange for a 22-year old second baseman named Bucky Harris. The position was filled by Howie Shanks, Joe Leonard, and Roy Grover for the balance of the season.

SS Howie Shanks .248/.289/.299 1 HR -3.6 BFW 7 WS 16 FRAR 1.6 WARP3
While his hitting still wasn’t lighting the world on fire, Shanks’ value came from his defense; both quality and versatility.

3B Eddie Foster .264/.314/.310 0 HR -0.7 BFW 11 WS 33 FRAR 4.5 WARP3
In his final season in Washington, Foster had his worst at the plate. At the same time, his 33 FRAR was a career high. All in all, Foster held down third base for Clark Griffith from 1912-1919. During that time, he hit .266/.328/.330 (94 OPS+) and compiled 35.4 WARP3. Foster will be traded to the Red Sox in January 1920.

LF Mike Menosky .287/.379/.401 6 HR 0.7 BFW 11 WS 3 FRAR 3.4 WARP3
Upon returning from the war, Menosky had another very good season at the plate. He led the Nats in home runs with six. After the season, Menoksy will head to Boston with Eddie Foster.

CF Clyde Milan .287/.371/.361 0 HR -0.2 BFW 9 WS 0 FRAR 2.2 WARP3
The 32-year-old played in only 88 games, the lowest total of his career if you take away his first and last seasons. Buzz Murphy filled in at center field when Milan was out, but was very unimpressive at the plate and wasn’t really an improvement in the field.

RF Sam Rice .321/.376/.411 3 HR 1.4 BFW 18 WS 15 FRAR 6.6 WARP3
Rice has the distinction of being the only Nats hitter in 1919 that could be accurately described as having a good season. One year removed from serving in World War I, Rice returned to form as if he hadn’t missed any time at all.

SP Walter Johnson 20-14 1.49 ERA 0.99 WHIP 6.7 PW 27 WS 14.1 WARP3
On opening day, Johnson pitched a 13-inning shutout, and the Nats defeated Philadelphia 1-0. It was one of five 1-0 victories for Johnson in 1919, tying his own major league record. Johnson led the AL in ERA (1.49), WHIP (0.99), H/9 (7.28), K (147), Shutouts (7), K/W (2.88), and ERA+ (214). The 1919 season marks the end of Johnson’s dominance. He will have several more very good seasons, but will not approach the dominance he displayed from 1910-1919. Over those 10 seasons, from the age of 22 to 32, Johnson compiled an amazing 138.7 WARP3. It is probably the most dominant stretch for any player in ML history.

SP Jim Shaw 17-17 2.43 ERA 1.22 WHIP 1.6 PW 18 WS 7.9 WARP3
Since Shaw started with Washington in 1913, he had some flashes of brilliance. In 1919, that all came together and Shaw had his best career season at the age of 25. Shaw was actually used more than Johnson, and more than any other pitcher in the AL for that matter. He led the AL in games (45) and innings pitched (306.7).

SP Harry Harper 6-21 3.72 ERA 1.52 WHIP -1.9 PW 4 WS 1.1 WARP3
The pitching depth in Washington took a nose dive after the number two spot. Harper led the league in one category: losses. He was the final Washington piece of the trade that sent three players to Boston in the offseason.

SP Eric Erickson 6-11 3.95 ERA 1.46 WHIP -1.2 PW 3 WS 1.3 WARP3
Erickson came to Washington from Detroit in exchange for Doc Ayers in July. Erickson was born in Sweden and started his major league career in 1914 with the New York Giants. He spent the next four years between Detroit and the minor leagues before landing in Washington where he will finish his career.

1919 World Series
One of the more famous series’ in history, though it was not due to the play on the field. The Cincinnati Reds upset the Chicago White Sox 5 games to 3 in a best of 9 series. It was about a year later when a grand jury convened to investigate the rumors of foul play that came out of this series, which ultimately led to the banishment for life of eight members of the White Sox. Among the eight was former Nat Chick Gandil.


The Franchise 1918

April 16, 2007

1918 Washington Nationals
logo12-27.gif
Manager: Clark Griffith 18th Season (7th with Washington 569-478-21)
72 W 56 L 2 T 461 RS 412 RA 3rd AL 4.0 GB (Boston 75-51)
3.55 RPG (AL = 3.64) 2.14 ERA (AL = 2.77)
.715 DER (2nd AL)

Franchise (1901-1918) 1179-1486-57

al_1918_washington.gif
1918 Washington uniforms from baseballhalloffame.org

In the summer of 1918, the United States was fully entered into the Great War, and baseball largely took a back seat to the war effort. In June, a “work of fight” order was issued that ultimately meant that the 1918 baseball season would end on Labor Day.

Even the games that did go on were effected. Managers and players were drafted or enlisted and left their teams mid-season. For Washington, the biggest name away at the war was Sam Rice, who did manage to play a few mid-season games while on furlough.

ruth.jpg

Babe Ruth’s draft registration from http://www.archives.gov/southeast/exhibit/popups.php?p=4.1.10
click to enlarge

Those who managed to stay for the season, however, found themselves in the thick of a pennant race. The team got off to an awful start, and stood at 16-23 after play on May 31. From June 1 on, Washington stormed back into contention. The Nats had an AL best 56-33 record from June 1 to the end of the season. Unfortunately, the run was cut short by the early end to the season, and Washington, despite the possibility that they were the best team at the end of the season, finished third in the American League.

Roster/Stats
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1918

C Eddie Ainsmith .212/.283/.308 0 HR 0.3 BFW 8 WS 34 FRAR 4.2 WARP3
Ainsmith may have been one of the key players in baseball during the 1918 season, but it wasn’t due to his play on the field. On July 19, Ainsmith applied for deferment from the draft. The move prompted Secretary of War Newton Baker to to rule that baseball was not an essential occupation; therefore ballplayers were eligible for the draft. Though the season was extended to Labor Day by an exemption that Baker allowed, the ruling was the key factor in the shortened season. Ainsmith is listed among baseball’s veterans of the first World War. Ainsmith will be traded to Boston before the 1919 season.

1B Joe Judge .261/.332/.341 1 HR 0.0 BFW 13 WS 10 FRAR 3.6 WARP3
Judge’s production fell off from the previous season, but the 24-year had many good seasons ahead of him.

2B Ray Morgan .233/.311/.277 0 HR -1.6 BFW 6 WS 16 FRAR 2.1 WARP3
Morgan took even more of a dive offensively in 1918, and it would be his last season. He held down second base in Washington for the better part of the decade, and finished his career hitting .254/.348/.322 with 18.5 WARP3.

SS Doc Lavan .278/.302/.323 0 HR -2.0 BFW 13 WS 12 FRAR 2.1 WARP3
Lavan came to Washington in from the Browns in the Bert Gallia deal. The 27-year old wasn’t a particularly good hitter, and made a lot of errors at shortstop. He served in the Navy after the season, and was purchased by the Cardinals in May of 1919 without having played a game for the Nats in the first few months of the season.

3B Eddie Foster .283/.339/.320 0 HR 0.1 BFW 18 WS 33 FRAR 5.9 WARP3
Foster had a 21-game hitting streak that occurred mostly in the month of May. The 31-year old has one more season left in Washington.

LF Burt Shotton .261/.349/.321 0 HR -0.4 BFW 16 WS 12 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
Shotton was the other piece of the Gallia trade. The veteran had some good seasons in St. Louis, but was starting the down side of his career. Like Lavan, Shotton would play for the Cardinals in 1919. He would later become famous when he was manager for the Dodgers the day that Jackie Robinson made his major league debut.

CF Clyde Milan .290/.344/.346 0 HR -0.9 BFW 18 WS 5 FRAR 3.2 WARP3
This is pretty much what was expected from Milan at this point in his career. He was still an above average hitter at the age of 31.

RF Frank Schulte .288/.406/.363 0 HR 1.4 BFW 13 WS 9 FRAR 4.0 WARP3
Schulte was a former NL MVP. He won the award in 1911 with the Chicago Cubs. By the time he was playing for Washington, he was 35 years old and was seemingly in the twilight of his career. Schulte played his final season admirably in Sam Rice’s absence, and may have been the best hitter on the team.

schulte.jpg
Schulte during his days with the Cubs

UT Howie Shanks .257/.312/.326 1 HR -1.3 BFW 12 WS 16 FRAR 3.3 WARP3
Shanks is of note because he was one of only two position players to have a home run for the 1918 Nats. The other two team home runs came from pitchers: Walter Johnson and Nick Altrock. Shanks split time between second base and outfield.

SP Walter Johnson 23-13 1.27 ERA 0.95 WHIP 7.6 PW 38 WS 14.2 WARP3
In terms of WARP, 1918 was Walter Johnson’s fourth best season behind 1913, 1912, and 1914. During the season, Walter Johnson pitched 17+ innings twice. The first came against the White Sox, when he and Lefty Williams each pitched a shutout through 17 innings. Johnson had a scoreless 18th, while the Nats were able to push a run across in the bottom of the frame. The 18-inning shutout still stands as an ML record, though it was tied by Carl Hubbell in 1933.

SP Harry Harper 11-10 2.18 ERA 1.17 WHIP 0.8 PW 16 WS 4.1 WARP3
This was Harper’s best season in the majors. At one point during the season, he won seven games in a row.

SP Jim Shaw 16-12 2.42 ERA 1.21 WHIP 0.3 PW 15 WS 3.5 WARP3
Grunting Jim Shaw is another Nats pitcher who had a career-best season in 1918. He would actually top it the following year, before his career is cut short by a hip injury in 1921.

SP Doc Ayers 10-12 2.83 ERA 1.27 WHIP -0.2 PW 10 WS 2.0 WARP3
In addition to starting 24 games, Ayers made the most relief appearances for the Nats in 1918. He will be traded to Detroit in July 1919. In his seven seasons with Washington, Ayers appeared in 227 games; 111 of those were starts. His career will get a small boost when he is among the players allowed to use the spitball after it is outlawed in 1920, but he will be out of the major leagues by 1921.

1918 World Series
Though both team rosters were thinned by the war, the World Series played on in September of 1918. The Red Sox, behind the pitching of Babe Ruth and Carl Mays, were able to defeat the Chicago Cubs four games to two. Ruth and Mays won two games each in the series.


The Franchise 1917

April 9, 2007

1917 Washington Nationals
logo12-27.gif
Manager: Clark Griffith 17th Season (6th with Washington 497-422-19)
74 W 79 L 4 T 544 RS 566 RA 5th AL 25.5 GB (Chicago 100-54-2)
3.46 RPG (AL = 3.65) 2.75 ERA (AL = 2.66)
.702 DER (5th AL)

Franchise (1901-1917) 1107-1430-55

It had almost become expected for the Nationals to win with Clark Griffith as manager, but 1917 saw the team lose 79 games; the most since Griffith took over in 1912.

The major lineup change, of course, came at the short stop position. After years of holding down the starting job, George McBride became a backup. Howie Shanks, a utility player of sorts, took over the bulk of the playing time.

al_1917_washington.gif
Washington had its first uniform change since Griffith took over in 1912
from baseballhalloffame.org

A former Federal League player, Mike Menosky, took over in left field and had a decent offensive season. In addition, Sam Rice and Joe Judge continued to develop into offensive threats, probably emerging as the best two hitters on the team in 1917. Clyde Milan gave about the production that Griffith had come to expect from the veteran center fielder. The end result was a small improvement over the offensive output of 1916; but still below league average in terms of run production.

The real source of the struggles in 1917, however, came from an unlikely place for Washington fans. While Walter Johnson had another great year, the rest of the pitching staff struggled. For the first time since 1911, the team ERA fell below league average. Three of the five regular starting pitchers had ERA’s hovering around the 3.00 mark in a 2.66 average league. It is interesting that what is essentially the same group of regulars will be the best pitching staff in baseball in a year’s time.

Roster/Stats
Bold = Player new to Washington in 1917

C Eddie Ainsmith .191/.280/.263 0 HR 0.4 BFW 9 WS 44 FRAR 4.8 WARP3
After seven seasons as a back-up catcher, Ainsmith finally got a chance to be the every-day catcher in 1917. Seems to have been the typical no-hit good defensive catcher.

1B Joe Judge .285/.369/.415 2 HR 1.7 BFW 19 WS 8 FRAR 4.9 WARP3
Judge improved on his rookie season to become one of the better hitters in the lineup in 1917. At 23, he was already starting to develop a reputation as a sure-handed first baseman.

2B Ray Morgan .266/.346/.308 -0.5 BFW 12 WS 12 FRAR 2.9 WARP3
Though Ray Morgan fell of a bit offensively, he still gave the Nats about average offensive output for a second-baseman. Morgan’s most famous career moment occured on July 23, when he drew a lead off walk from Babe Ruth in a game against Boston. Ruth disagreed with the strike zone, and earned an early exit by punching umpire Brick Owens in the face. Morgan is caught stealing later in the inning, and Ernie Shore, in relief of Ruth, retires 26 straight Nats in a 4-0 game.

SS Howie Shanks .202/.269/.260 0 HR -0.9 BFW 8 WS 29 FRAR 2.8 WARP3
With George McBride now backing up at shortstop, Howie Shanks had a season that looked a little like McBride’s typical season when he was in his prime, though a little less solid on defense.

3B Eddie Foster .235/.293/.292 0 HR -2.0 BFW 13 WS 24 FRAR 3.1 WARP3
Foster’s offensive output was way down from the previous three years, but that made him fit in well with his partner on the left side of the infield. Fortunately, Foster will rebound in 1918.

LF Mike Menosky .258/.359/.366 1 HR 1.8 BFW 14 WS 13 FRAR 4.2 WARP3
Menoksy began his career with the Federal League’s Pittsburgh Rebels. He was purchased by the Nats prior to the 1916 season, though he played in only 11 games that year. He proveded some much-needed offense to a team that had little in 1917. Menoksy, like a lot of players, will spend 1918 serving in the military before returning to the team after the war is over.

menosky_mike.gif
Mike Menosky
from baseballlibrary.com

CF Clyde Milan .294/.364/.333 0 HR -0.6 BFW 22 WS -5 FRAR 3.4 WARP3
Milan’s offense returned after a slightly disappointing 1916. He led the AL in singles with 151. At the age of 30, he still has a few good seasons left in him, though his fielding seems to have taken a sharp dive.

RF Sam Rice .302/.360/.309 0 HR 1.5 BFW 24 WS 16 FRAR 6.4 WARP3
This is the year that Rice established himself as one of the better hitters in the league. He will take most of 1918 off to serve in the Army, though he will play in a few games while on furlough.

SP Walter Johnson 23-16 2.21 ERA 0.97 WHIP 3.1 PW 29 WS 10.4 WARP3
Though his ERA was a little on the high side for his standards, the defense behind Johnson probably had something to do with that. The rest of his numbers, including WHIP, look pretty comparable with the rest of his career. The “problem” will be corrected next season.

1917 is the year that Ty Cobb hit his only career home run off of Johnson; an inside-the-park home run that helped the Tigers win a late-September game 4-3. Also of note, Johnson finally earned a win against Babe Ruth in October, when the Nats shut out the Red Sox 6-0.

SP Harry Harper 11-12 3.01 ERA 1.40 WHIP -1.8 PW 6 WS 0.6 WARP3
This was a down season in Harper’s up and down career.

SP Jim Shaw 15-14 3.21 ERA 1.24 WHIP -2.0 PW 11 WS 2.2 WARP3
After being used primarily out of the bullpen in 1916, Shaw returned to the starting rotation in 1917. He once again led the league in walks with 123.

SP George Dumont 5-14 2.55 ERA 1.21 WHIP -0.6 PW 10 WS 2.3 WARP3
This is the classic case of a pitcher performing much better than his record indicates. Dumont’s ERA+ was 103, not great, but above average for the league. According to Baseball Prospectus, Dumont should have won at least five more games based on his numbers. Though he spent four seasons with the Nats from 1915-1918, this is the only year that Dumont will pitch regularly. For some reason, the Minneapolis native earned the nickname “Pea Soup”; most likely indicating that his intellect was not particularly well respected by his peers.

SP Bert Gallia 9-13 2.99 ERA 1.37 WHIP -0.8 PW 9 WS 2.3 WARP3
The Nationals will get Burt Shotten and Doc Lavan from the Browns in exchange for Gallia after the season. Both players will fill holes for the Nats in 1918 before moving on.

RP Doc Ayers 11-10 2.17 ERA 1.21 WHIP 1.0 PW 15 WS 5.1 WARP3
Ayers bounced back from a difficult 1916 season to become the second most valuable pitcher on the team behind Johnson. He appeared in 40 games in 1917, and showed his durability by starting 15 of them, and by finishing 12 complete games in a season where he was used primarily out of the bullpen.

1917 World Series
The Chicago White Sox, with many of the same players who will become famous for throwing the 1919 World Series, defeat the New York Giant four games to two. Former Nat Chick Gandil knocked in five runs in the series.