Saturday, March 16, 2019

1901 Major League End of Season Review

Major League Baseball's season has come to an end, and while the pennant races were lacking drama and excitement, there were plenty of other stories around the league that kept fans watching their teams through the final days of the season.  What news was made, and which players were at the top of their respective leagues?  Read on to find out.

American League:

In the American League, the Boston Americans easily withstood any and all challenges from the other seven ballclubs to win the pennant.  Boston's team was well balanced, as three of their pitchers finished with over 20 wins, and first baseman Buck Freeman socked ten home runs and drove in 95 runs, both tops on the team.  While the Philadelphia Athletics and Baltimore Orioles both faded down the stretch, the two teams showed positive growth, and fans in both cities are confident that their two squads can compete with Boston during the 1902 season.  In Philadelphia, Nap Lajoie proved to be worth every cent that the Athletics paid to steal him away from the Phillies, as he led the American League in batting average and was tied for the league lead with 109 runs batted in.

The 1901 American League champion Boston Americans
Buck Freeman was the main force behind Boston's potent offense.

The Philadelphia Athletics may have come up short, but Nap Lajoie had an outstanding 1901 season.

Cy Young reaches 300 wins

In the midseason report, it was noted that Boston hurler Cy Young was just six wins away from his 300th career victory.  It only took the ageless Young 27 days to win those six games, as he picked up win number 300 on July 28th.  Following his historical victory, Young would finish the season with a record of 22-9.  Aging hasn't seemed to dull Young's skills to this point, and he has already gone on record that he is looking forward to defending Boston's American League pennant in 1902.

Brewers announce move to National League city

Prior to the 1901 season, American League president Ban Johnson announced that the Milwaukee Brewers would be moving to St. Louis as soon as suitable ownership was found.  In August, it was announced that Robert Hedges was that buyer, and that the 1901 season would be the last for the Brewers in Milwaukee.  Shortly after the announcement, Hedges confirmed that the Brewers would start playing in St. Louis for the 1902 season and would be renamed as the St. Louis Browns.  National League supporters, who were already wary of the upstart American League's practices of stealing players, are now up in arms at this brazen attempt to steal fans away from the St. Louis Cardinals.  For the soon to be Browns, the move can not come soon enough, as they finished near the bottom of the American League in attendance for the 1901 season.

National League:

The race for the National League pennant was just as one sided as the American League contest.  The Pittsburgh Pirates held their ground atop the Senior Circuit, and finished as champions of the National League.  Rube Waddell dominated opposing hitters all season, finishing with a 29-6 record and a sparkling 1.43 ERA.  At the plate, Honus Wagner paced the Pirates with a .342 batting average, 90 runs batted in and 49 stolen bases, all tops on the team.  With Waddell and Wagner each still being in their 20s, it appears as if the Pirates will be able to dominate the National League for years to come.

Pittsburgh may face some tough competition in the Philadelphia Phillies, however.  The Phillies have pitchers Al Orth and Doc White to lead the way on the mound, and veteran hitters Ed Delahanty and Elmer Flick at the plate.  Flick had himself a wonderful 1901 campaign, as he hit .362 with 8 home runs and a National League leading 112 runs batted in.  The future of baseball appears to be bright in the Keystone State.

The 1901 National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates

Honus Wagner's stellar 1901 season helped the Pirates claim the pennant.
The Phillies may have come up short in their chase for the pennant, but Elmer Flick had an outstanding year.
Donovan hits safely in 30 straight

The St. Louis Cardinals did not have much to celebrate during the 1901 season, but they were able to lay claim to the longest hitting streak since Ed Delahanty's 31 game streak in 1899.  Veteran outfielder Patsy Donovan reeled off hits in 30 consecutive games during the 1901 season.  The streak, which was partially responsible for an uptick in attendance at Cardinals games, seemed to energize the 36 year old Donovan.  At this time, he has brushed aside whispers that the 1901 season will be his last, and he appears ready to help the Cardinals stand their ground against the Browns in 1902.

Patsy Donovan's 30 game hitting streak was tops in baseball in 1901

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