Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1919 Athletics

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams

AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams

APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams

Assessment

The 1919 Philadelphia Athletics

OWAR: 33.3     OWS: 224     OPW%: .381     (53-87)

AWAR: 9.0       AWS: 107     APW%: .257   (36-104)

WARdiff: 24.3                        WSdiff: 116.4  

The “Original” 1919 Athletics outperformed the “Actual” squad by 17 victories with a staggering WSdiff of 116.4. The “Actuals” were reduced to a shadow of their former dynasty due to a variety of factors, primarily financial. The “Originals” featured second-sacker Eddie Collins (.319/4/80), the League-leader with 33 stolen bases. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson supplied a .351 BA with 31 doubles, 14 triples and 96 ribbies in his penultimate season. Their counterparts, Whitey Witt (.267/0/33) and Merlin Kopp (.226/1/12) were barely adequate. In addition to left field and second base, the “Originals” surpassed the “Actuals” at catcher and third base. Wally Schang furnished a .306 BA and pilfered 15 bags while Steve O’Neill contributed a .289 BA with 35 doubles. Home Run Baker (.293/10/83) bested Fred Thomas (.212/2/23) at the hot corner.

Eddie Collins placed runner-up to Joe Morgan in the All-Time Second Basemen rankings according to Bill James in “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.” “Original” Athletics teammates listed in the “NBJHBA” top 100 rankings include Baker (5th-3B), Jackson (6th-LF), Wally Schang (20th-C), Jimmie Dykes (52nd-3B), Steve O’Neill (54th-C), Stan Coveleski (58th-P), Stuffy McInnis (68th-1B), Charlie Grimm (85th-1B), Joe Dugan (88th-3B), Jack Barry (90th-SS), Bob Shawkey (95th-P) and Amos Strunk (100th-CF). George H. Burns (79th-1B) and Terry Turner (92nd-SS) round out the roster for the “Actuals”.

  Original 1919 Athletics                                                       Actual 1919 Athletics 

STARTING LINEUP POS OWAR OWS STARTING LINEUP POS OWAR OWS
Joe Jackson LF 3.37 30.69 Merlin Kopp LF 0.59 3.19
Amos Strunk CF -1.59 5.71 Tillie Walker CF 0.87 9.67
Eddie Murphy RF 0.69 3.38 Braggo Roth RF 0.64 7.11
Stuffy McInnis 1B 1.07 12.03 George H. Burns 1B 1.56 11.67
Eddie Collins 2B 4.1 27.48 Whitey Witt 2B -0.35 7.01
Joe Dugan SS -1.51 6.12 Joe Dugan SS -1.51 6.12
Home Run Baker 3B 1.57 19.36 Fred Thomas 3B -3.09 3.74
Wally Schang C 4.41 18.95 Cy Perkins C 0.96 8.98
BENCH POS OWAR OWS BENCH POS AWAR AWS
Morrie Rath 2B 4.18 21.36 Wickey McAvoy C -0.77 2.93
Steve O’Neill C 2.02 16.7 Red Shannon 2B -0.23 2.69
Cy Perkins C 0.96 8.98 Dick Burrus 1B -1.09 1.53
Val Picinich C 0.79 7.27 Ivy Griffin 1B -0.04 1.26
Whitey Witt 2B -0.35 7.01 Al Wingo LF -0.08 1.17
Rube Bressler LF -0.08 5.96 Amos Strunk RF -1.35 1.02
Wickey McAvoy C -0.77 2.93 Terry Turner SS -1.06 0.95
Charlie Grimm 1B 0.27 1.81 Chick Galloway SS -0.93 0.63
Jack Barry 2B 0.03 1.68 Lena Styles C 0.02 0.54
Dick Burrus 1B -1.09 1.53 Jimmie Dykes 2B -0.28 0.36
Fred Lear 1B -0.05 1.48 Frank Welch CF -0.31 0.22
Ivy Griffin 1B -0.04 1.26 Art Ewoldt 3B -0.24 0.19
Al Wingo LF -0.08 1.17 Roy Grover 2B -0.4 0.17
Lew Malone 3B -0.82 1.01 Johnny Walker C -0.11 0.12
Dave Shean 2B -1.25 0.88 Snooks Dowd 2B -0.18 0.06
Chick Galloway SS -0.93 0.63 Charlie High RF -0.46 0.04
Lena Styles C 0.02 0.54 Lew Groh 3B -0.06 0.01
Claude Davidson 3B 0.08 0.41 Bob Allen CF -0.25 0.01
Jimmie Dykes 2B -0.28 0.36
Roy Grover 2B -1.16 0.32
Frank Welch CF -0.31 0.22
Gene Bailey RF 0.02 0.2
Art Ewoldt 3B -0.24 0.19
Johnny Walker C -0.11 0.12
Charlie High RF -0.46 0.04
Lew Groh 3B -0.06 0.01
Bob Allen CF -0.25 0.01
Lee King LF/SS -0.01 0

Stan Coveleski averaged 23 victories per season over a four-year stretch (1918-1921). “Covey” delivered a 24-12 mark with a 2.61 ERA for the “Originals” staff. Bob Shawkey fashioned a 2.72 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP to complement his 20-11 record. Herb Pennock aka “The Squire of Kennett Square” added 16 wins with a 2.71 ERA. The “Actuals” countered with Walt Kinney (9-15, 3.64), Jing Johnson (9-15, 3.61), Rollie Naylor (5-18, 3.34) and Scott Perry (4-17, 3.58).

  Original 1919 Athletics                                                       Actual 1919 Athletics

ROTATION POS OWAR OWS ROTATION POS AWAR AWS
Stan Coveleski SP 6.29 27.45 Walt Kinney SP 1.03 9.04
Bob Shawkey SP 3.87 23.43 Jing Johnson SP 0.79 7.49
Herb Pennock SP 2.91 15.28 Rollie Naylor SP 0.38 7.16
Elmer Myers SP 0.6 7.68 Scott Perry SP 0.96 6.52
BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS BULLPEN POS AWAR AWS
Jing Johnson SP 0.79 7.49 Tom Rogers SP -0.65 3.07
Dana Fillingim SP -0.06 7.35 Bob Geary SW -0.26 0.77
Rollie Naylor SP 0.38 7.16 Jimmy Zinn SP -0.35 0.43
Tom Zachary SP 0.15 2.78 Charlie Eckert SP -0.03 0.4
Bob Geary SW -0.26 0.77 Walter Anderson RP -0.28 0.4
Jimmy Zinn SP -0.35 0.43 William Pierson SP 0.14 0.38
Charlie Eckert SP -0.03 0.4 Socks Seibold SW -0.94 0.28
Walter Anderson RP -0.28 0.4 Dave Keefe SP 0.1 0.28
William Pierson SP 0.14 0.38 Willie Adams RP 0.03 0.18
Socks Seibold SW -0.94 0.28 Win Noyes SP -0.72 0.08
Dave Keefe SP 0.1 0.28 Pat Martin SP -0.18 0.06
Bullet Joe Bush SP -0.03 0.24 Ray Roberts SP -0.53 0.03
Pat Martin SP -0.18 0.06 Bob Hasty SP -0.28 0.02
Ray Roberts SP -0.53 0.03 Dan Boone SP -0.54 0
Bob Hasty SP -0.28 0.02 Bill Grevell SP -1.19 0
Dan Boone SP -0.54 0 Mike Kircher RP -0.36 0
Dave Danforth RP -2.18 0 Harry Thompson RP -0.28 0
Bill Grevell SP -1.19 0 Mule Watson SP -0.33 0
Mike Kircher RP -0.36 0 Lefty York SP -0.86 0
Mule Watson SP -0.33 0
Harry Weaver SP -0.49 0
Lefty York SP -0.86 0

Notable Transactions

Shoeless Joe Jackson

July 30, 1910: the Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson to the Cleveland Naps to complete an earlier deal made on July 23, 1910. July 23, 1910: The Philadelphia Athletics sent a player to be named later and Morrie Rath to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord.

August 21, 1915: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later, Ed Klepfer, Braggo Roth and $31,500. The Chicago White Sox sent Larry Chappell (February 14, 1916) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.

Eddie Collins

December 8, 1914: Purchased by the Chicago White Sox from the Philadelphia Athletics for $50,000.

Home Run Baker

February 15, 1916: Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Athletics for $37,500.

Wally Schang

December 14, 1917: Traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with Bullet Joe Bush and Amos Strunk to the Boston Red Sox for Vean Gregg, Merlin Kopp, Pinch Thomas and $60,000.

Morrie Rath

July 23, 1910: Traded by the Philadelphia Athletics with a player to be named later to the Cleveland Naps for Bris Lord. The Philadelphia Athletics sent Shoeless Joe Jackson (July 30, 1910) to the Cleveland Naps to complete the trade.

September 1, 1911: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox from Baltimore (Eastern) in the 1911 rule 5 draft.

August 23, 1913: Purchased by Kansas City (American Association) from the Chicago White Sox.

September 20, 1917: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from Salt Lake City (PCL) in the 1917 rule 5 draft.

Steve O’Neill

August 20, 1911: Purchased by the Cleveland Naps from the Philadelphia Athletics.

Stan Coveleski

December, 1912: Purchased by Spokane (Northwestern) from the Philadelphia Athletics.

November 27, 1915: Sent from Portland (PCL) to the Cleveland Indians in an unknown transaction.

Bob Shawkey

June 28, 1915: Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Athletics for $3,000.

Herb Pennock

June 6, 1915: Selected off waivers by the Boston Red Sox from the Philadelphia Athletics.

 

Honorable Mention

The 1998 Oakland Athletics 

OWAR: 41.6     OWS: 306     OPW%: .510     (83-79)

AWAR: 28.7     AWS: 222     APW%: .457   (74-88)

WARdiff: 12.9                        WSdiff: 84.8  

Mark McGwire launched 70 four-baggers and drove in 147 runs for the “Original” 1998 Athletics. “Big Mac” placed runner-up in the MVP balloting while his protégé Jason Giambi (.295/27/110) completed his third season for the “Actuals”. Scott Brosius (.300/19/98) socked 34 two-base hits and earned his lone All-Star invitation as he outclassed Mike Blowers, who batted .237 with 11 dingers in his solitary campaign for the green-and-gold crew. Darren Lewis posted career-bests in runs scored (95) and RBI (63), a significant upgrade over “Actuals” center fielder Ryan Christenson (.257/5/40). Rickey Henderson, a member of the “Original” and “Actual” A’s roster in ’98, notched the American League stolen base title for the twelfth time in his career. “The Man of Steal” tallied 101 runs scored and a League-leading 118 bases on balls.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1905 Beaneaters

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive



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Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

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