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1901-07 Philadelphia Athletics

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  • 1901-07 Philadelphia Athletics

    I'd like to showcase one of the great teams of baseball history, The 1902-07 Philadelphia A's. Many fans mistakenly believe that Connie Mack only established 2 great teams during his long 50 tenure as a manager of the A's. The 1909-14 team and then the 1928-32 team.

    This is incorrect. He actually established 3 great teams. The 1902-07 team is often neglected by baseball historians, simply due to their not winning a World Series title.
    They finished 1st, 2nd, 5th, 1st, 4th and 2nd. The NL pennant winners, the New York Giants refused to meet them in championship play in 1902, and they were without the services of their star pitcher, Rube Waddell in the 1905 World Series.

    This team sported 4 Hall of Famers: Rube Waddell, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender and manager, Connie Mack himself.

    1902 Philadelphia A's---83-53, .610, 5 g ahead, no World Series.
    1903 Philadelphia A's---75-60, .556, 2nd Pl, 14.5 g behind
    1904 Philadelphia A's---81-70, .536, 5th Pl, 12.5 g behind
    1905 Philadelphia A's---92-56, .622, 2 g ahead, (WS: L 4-1 to Giants)
    1906 Philadelphia A's---78-67, .538, 4th Pl, 12 g behind
    1907 Philadelphia A's---88-57, .607, 2nd Pl, 1.5 g behind

  • #2
    The beginning

    Philadelphia Athletics, 1902–1954. The franchise that would become the modern Athletics originated in 1901 as a new franchise in the American League. The Western League had been renamed the American League in 1900 by league president Bancroft (Ban) Johnson, and declared itself the second major league in 1901.

    In 1901, Johnson created new franchises in the east and eliminated some franchises in the West. (Seeks to snare Duffy of Boston, Chicago Daily Tribune, January 29, 1901, pg. 9.) Philadelphia seems to have been a new franchise created to compete with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies. Former catcher Connie Mack was recruited to manage the club. Mack in turn persuaded Phillies minority owner Ben Shibe as well as others to invest in the team, which would be called the Philadelphia Athletics. He himself bought a 25 percent interest. The other 1901 American League teams included the newly-created Baltimore Orioles (now the New York Yankees) and Boston Americans (now Red Sox), as well as a Kansas City franchise relocated to Washington as the Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) and previous members the Chicago White Stockings (now White Sox), Cleveland Blues (now Indians), Detroit Tigers, and Milwaukee Brewers (later the St. Louis Browns and now the Baltimore Orioles).

    The new league recruited many of its players from the existing National League, persuading them to “jump” to the A.L. in defiance of their N.L. contracts. One of them was second baseman Nap Lajoie, formerly of the crosstown Phillies. He won the A.L.'s first batting title with a .426 batting average, still an A.L. record. The Athletics as well as the 7 other A.L. teams received a jolt when, on April 21, 1902, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated Lajoie's contract with the Athletics, and ordered him back to the Phillies. This order, though, was only enforceable in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Lajoie was sold to Cleveland, but was kept out of road games in Philadelphia until the National Agreement was signed between the two leagues in 1903.

    The First Dynasty and aftermath
    In the early years, the A’s quickly established themselves as one of the dominant teams in the new league, winning the A.L. pennant six times (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914), winning the World Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913. They won over 100 games in 1910 and 1911, and 99 games in 1914. The team was known for its "$100,000 Infield", consisting of John "Stuffy" McInnis (first base), Eddie Collins (second base), Jack Barry (shortstop), and Frank "Home Run" Baker (third base) and as well as pitchers Eddie Plank and Charles "Chief" Bender. Rube Waddell was also a major pitching star for the A's in the early 1900s before flaming out. According to Lamont Buchanan in The World Series and Highlights of Baseball, the A's fans were fond of chanting, "If Eddie Plank doesn't make you lose / We have Waddell and Bender all ready to use!" Plank holds the club record for career victories, with 284.

    In 1909, the A's moved into the majors' first concrete-and-steel ballpark, Shibe Park. This remains the last time in franchise history where a new ballpark was built specifically for the A's. Later in the decade, Mack bought another 25 percent of the team's stock to become a full partner with Shibe. Shibe ceded Mack full control over the baseball side while retaining control over the business side.

    Business took a downturn in 1914. The heavily favored Athletics lost the 1914 World Series to the "Miracle" Boston Braves in a four-game sweep. Miracles often have two sides, and for a few years this "miracle" wrought disaster on the A's. Mack traded, sold or released most of the team's star players soon after, and the team fell into a lengthy slump. In his book To Every Thing a Season, Bruce Kuklick points out that there were suspicions that the A's had thrown the Series, or at least "laid down", perhaps in protest of Mack's frugal ways. Mack himself alluded to that rumor years later, but also debunked it, asserting that factions within the team along with the allure of a third major league, the Federal League had distracted the team. The facts at least in part support Mack's statement.

    The Federal League had been formed to begin play in 1914. As the A.L. had done 13 years before, the new league raided existing A.L. and N.L. teams for players. Several of his best players, including Bender, had already decided to jump before the World Series. Mack refused to match the offers of the F.L. teams, preferring to let the "prima donnas" go and rebuild with younger (and less expensive) players. The result was a swift and near-total collapse, a "first-to-worst" situation. The Athletics went from a 99–53 (.651) record and a pennant in 1914 to a record of 43–109 (.283) and 8th (last) place in 1915, and then to 36–117 (.235, still a modern major-league low) in 1916. The team would finish in last place every year after that until 1922 and would not contend again until 1925. Shibe died in 1922, and his sons took over the business side, leaving the baseball side to Mack. By this time Mack had cemented his famous image of the tall, gaunt and well-dressed man (he never wore a uniform during his managerial career, preferring a business suit, tie and fedora; a not-uncommon practice for managers in his day) waving his players into position with a scorecard (since no one is allowed on the baseball field, during a game, without a proper uniform).


    • #3
      Excerpt from Eddie Collins autobiography, Sporting News, August 16, 1950, pp. 13.

      "I put on a uniform that did not fit me too well," said Eddie. "Gosh, I weighed only about 140 pounds. I was self-conscious among all those big fellows--men like Waddell, whom I had read so much about. Waddell had been warming up on the sidelines.

      "Get a bat, kid," he said "and I'll throw you a few". I thought that was great--I was to bat against the great Rube. But I didn't know what Waddell was up to. With more fear than confidence I took my stance at the plate. He threw me three curve balls that looked as if they had dropped off a table. I missed all three. I thought I'd never make good if they had that kind of pitchers in this league and I started to walk away. Rube must have noticed how downcast I was, for he walked out of the box, patted me on the back and said, "Don't mind kid. I do that to all of 'em."


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bill Burgess
        ... The 1902-07 team is often neglected by baseball historians, simply due to their not winning a World Series title.
        They finished 1st, 2nd, 5th, 1st, 4th and 2nd. The NL pennant winners, the New York Giants refused to meet them in championship play in 1902, and they were without the services of their star pitcher, Rube Waddell in the 1905 World Series.
        This confuses the 1902 Athletics with the 1904 "Red Sox". The Athletics won the pennant during the war between the leagues, fall 1900 to winter 1903.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul Wendt
          This confuses the 1902 Athletics with the 1904 "Red Sox". The Athletics won the pennant during the war between the leagues, fall 1900 to winter 1903.
          Oops. You are quite correct. It was the Pittsburgh Pirates who refused to meet the A's in a World Series Championship in 1902, not the Giants.

          But I doubt if the Giants would have played an AL team for the championship if they had won in 1902. The NL didn't want to 'legitimize' the AL by acknowledging that they were a ML. The war between them was still raging, they were still raiding each others' rosters for players, and the NL was still calling them outlaws. The truce that ended the war wasn't established until 1903, I believe.

          This ended the incessant raiding of each others' rosters, and the AL probably achieved parity with the older league by 1908 or so.

          Any chance you might want to try out for my Designated Proof Reader, Paul? If so, the pay is entry level, and RuthMayBond is my accountant and will cut you your checks.


          • #6
            Athletics Pitcher

            Charles Albert "Chief" Bender, 1903/1905/1915

            PhiA Bender rookie.jpgPhiA Bender.jpgPhiA Bender 1915 hunting.jpg


            • #7
              Athletics Pitcher

              "Gettysburg Eddie" Plank, 1905/undated (1902-1908)

              PhiA Plank.jpgPhiA Plank 2.jpg


              • #8
                Athletics Pitchers

                Andy Coakley, 1905-------------------------------Jack Coombs, 1906-----Jimmy Dygert, 1907-----
                PhiA Coakley.jpgPhiA Coombs.jpgPhiA Dygert.jpg

                -------Weldon Henley, 1905------------------------------------------Tad Quinn, 1903-----------

                PhiA Henley.jpgPhiA Quinn.jpg
                Last edited by RUKen; 11-09-2013, 08:19 AM.


                • #9
                  Athletics Catchers

                  Osee Schrecongost, 1905--------------------------------Michael "Doc" Powers, 1905-----------------

                  PhiA Schreck.jpgPhiA Powers.jpg

                  ------------------Harry Barton, 1905--------

                  PhiA Barton.jpg
                  Last edited by RUKen; 11-09-2013, 08:19 AM.


                  • #10
                    Athletics First Basemen

                    Harry Davis, 1903--------------------------------------------------Jim Mullin*, 1905

                    PhiA Davis.jpgPhiA Mullin 1904.jpg

                    *Mullin played for the Athletics June-August, 1904, then was lent to the Senators on August 31st and returned to Philadelphia on September 21st. He played for Washington again in 1905, his only other major league season.


                    • #11
                      Athletics Second Basemen

                      Danny Murphy, 1905------------------------------------------------Dave Shean, 1906

                      PhiA Murphy.jpgPhiA Shean.jpg


                      • #12
                        Athletics Shortstops

                        Monte Cross, 1905----------------------------------------------------John Knight, 1905

                        PhiA MCross.jpgPhiA Knight.jpg


                        • #13
                          Athletics Third Basemen

                          Lave Cross, 1905---------------------------------------Jimmy Collins, undated (1907 or 1908)

                          PhiA LCross.jpgPhiA Collins.jpg


                          • #14
                            Athletics Outfielders

                            Topsy Hartsel, 1906------------------------------------------------Danny Hoffman, 1903------------------------------
                            PhiA Hartsel.jpgPhiA Hoffman.jpg

                            -------------Bris Lord, 1906----------

                            PhiA Lord.jpg

                            Ollie Pickering, 1903--------------------------------------------Socks Seybold, 1903
                            PhiA Pickering.jpgPhiA Seybold.jpg
                            Last edited by RUKen; 11-09-2013, 08:20 AM.


                            • #15
                              Athletics Manager

                              Connie Mack (undated photo)

                              PhiA Mack.jpg


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