In addition to the arguments between and within baseball's two leagues, a number of players' achievements and, of course, the season's big winners earned themselves a spot in the newspapers. The following is a sampling of the biggest stories and 1901 baseball season headlines.
Honus Wagner Makes Mark
If there had been a Most Valuable Player Award in 1901, Honus Wagner almost certainly would have swept up the honor in the National League, as he topped the circuit with 126 RBI and 49 swipes. Yet at age 27, he still didn't have a position, dividing his time between the outfield and shortstop and third base.
Monte Cross Yields Weak Year
After hitting only .197 in 1901, Monte Cross jumped from the Phillies to the crosstown A's in 1902 and grew a mustache, but neither move improved his hitting. Playing in 153 games for the Athletics in 1904, he batted .189 and collected just 95 hits. As a fielder, however, Cross was among the better shortstops of his era.
Cy Young Comes of Age
Cy Young was coming off his poorest season since his 1890 rookie year when he jumped to the fledgling American League in 1901. Despite his circuit-best 33 wins that season, most observers thought it was the last gasp of a once-great pitcher, 34 years of age at the time. It turned out, instead, to be a mid-point season in Young's career.
Noodles Hahn Fans Over 200
From 1899 to 1904, the left arm of Noodles Hahn had no equal. He won 121 games and struck out 878 batters during that period for poor Cincinnati teams, 22 of those victories and a National League-best 239 of those strikes coming in 1901. Hahn was already on the wane by age 25, when he slipped to just 98 strikeouts.
John McGraw, 28, Washed Up
Although new manager John McGraw hit .349 with the Baltimore club in 1901, injuries and suspensions held him to only 73 games; just 28 years old at the time, he was, for all intents and purposes, finished as a productive player. Never again would he total more than 42 hits in a season. In 1902, he jumped from the Orioles to become the manager of the Giants. He would become the most famous skipper of all time.
Jesse Burkett Is a Hit
Jesse Burkett is probably the least known great hitter. A member of the Cleveland Spiders in the 1890s, Burkett had 2,249 hits at the conclusion of the 1901 season, topping the National League with 226 hits that year. He would have finished with a .362 career batting average if he'd quit then and there instead of defecting to the American League, where he was but an average hitter during his remaining four years of play.
1901 Pittsburgh Pirates Take National League
Pittsburgh won their first flag in 1901. George Merritt was 3-0 in three starts as a rookie in 1901 but never starred another game in the majors.
Continue to the next page, where you'll find more highlights from 1901 baseball.