The 1901 baseball season has come to a close, and for the first time, we have pennant winners in two leagues. Which two teams made their way to the tops of their respective leagues, and what players stood out as the top performers in the American and National Leagues this season? All the results for the 1901 season are below.
Cleveland withstands efforts from Boston and Baltimore to take American League pennant
The race for the American League had fans in Cleveland, Boston and Baltimore sitting on the edge of their seats during every game. In the end, the Cleveland Blues were able to gain enough distance between themselves and the Boston Americans to claim the American League pennant with five games left to play. Cleveland was led at the plate by talented left fielder Ed Delahanty, and while Toad Ramsey finally began to show signs of aging, new addition Doc White was able to emerge as a fine young arm, winning 22 games.
In Boston, the Americans could only look back and wonder what they could have done to catch the Blues. Boston's pitching staff was one of the best in baseball, with Amos Rusie, Christy Mathewson and veteran Cannonball Titcomb each winning over 20 games a piece. It was a true lack of a star at the plate that haunted the Americans, while the Baltimore Orioles had the opposite issue. Baltimore had a true, bona fide slugger in Jimmy Benson. Benson led the American League in runs batted in and finished second with 11 home runs. Baltimore's issues stemmed entirely from the pitching staff, where not a single starter finished the season with an ERA under 3.10. Unless Boston and Baltimore are able to address those issues in the offseason, it appears that Cleveland will yet again be the team to beat in the American League in 1902.
On the other side of the coin, the Philadelphia Athletics had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. New addition Cy Young struggled against American League hitting, winning just 15 games for the season, while the offense never seemed to find their footing at all. Of course, things could always be worse for the Athletics. After a last place finish, the owners of the Milwaukee Brewers club are already looking at potentially relocating the team to a National League market, and St. Louis has been mentioned more than a few times.
Cincinnati surpasses expectations, wins National League pennant on final day
The race for the National League pennant was a two team race for almost the entire season. As expected, the Pittsburgh Pirates were one of those teams, and while they met expectations this year, the Cincinnati Reds outperformed what even the most ardent of supporters thought they would do in 1901. Using a solid blend of offense and pitching, including an out of nowhere performance from pitcher Vic Willis, the Reds kept themselves within arm's reach of Pittsburgh, and finally caught them on the second to last day of the season. With one game left to play, Pittsburgh faced off against the Chicago Orphans, while Cincinnati went up against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Reds jumped out to a 6-0 lead after five innings, while Pittsburgh led 5-4 through seven. Cincinnati would add to their lead and would finish off a 7-2 win against the Cardinals while the Orphans came up for their last swings in the bottom of the ninth. The Orphans were able to get two runners on base with just one out, then pinch hitter Ed Abbaticchio struck a hard single into right field that tied the game. On the very next pitch, Jimmy Sheckard drove a ball that split between the center fielder and right fielder, sending the crowd into hysterics and propelling the Cincinnati Reds to the National League pennant. When news of Chicago's late win reached the Reds, the whoops and cheers of their players could be heard throughout the neighborhood.
Despite their their late season defeat, not all was lost for the Pirates. Pitcher Matt Kilroy finished the season with 489 career wins. With just six victories between him and the all time record for wins, it seems as if nothing short of an act of God would be able to stop the young man from taking his place in the history books. With Kilroy all but certain to return, and a balanced offense that was one of the best in the National League this season, the Pirates should expect to have another good season in 1902. The next step will be to take the pennant as well.
|1901 National League Champion Cincinnati Reds|