Pitchers improved as the learned to manage the new cork-filled baseball, and therefore, most hitting stats declined. See what else made news with these headlines from the 1913 baseball season:
Eddie Cicotte on the Rise
Eddie Cicotte was emerging as one of the American League's top pitchers -- he placed second in the circuit in 1913 with a 1.58 ERA -- when he got caught up in the Black Sox scandal of 1919. After years of being a .500 hurler, he hit .600 in 1913 -- his best season by far prior to 1916, the year he finally began reaching his potential.
Home Run Baker Dips in Average
An erratic fielder early in his career, Home Run Baker was rated one of the soundest third basemen in either league by 1913. The first player in American League history to be a back-to-back leader in both home runs (12) and RBI (117), Baker hit .337 in 1913 to fall slightly short of his .347 mark of 1912 (an American League record for third basemen until 1980).
Gavvy Cravath Makes a Comeback
Gavvy Cravath, who had previously flopped with three American League teams, was given a last chance at age 31 by the Phils after topping the American Association in batting and home runs in 1911. Over the next eight seasons, he was the game's leading slugger, winning six National League home run crowns. In 1913, he was the MVP runner-up, topping the National League with 179 hits, 19 home runs, 128 RBI, 298 total bases, and a .568 slugging average. Cravath clubbed 19 homers in 1914 and 24 in 1915 -- a freakish total for this era.
Jake Daubert Bats .350
The Mickey Vernon of his day, Jake Daubert was a contender for the National League hitting title only twice in his 15-year career apart from the 1916 season -- in 1913 (when he posted a .350 average) and in 1914 (when he had a .329 mark). He won both times. As a fielder, Daubert was quite a bit better than Vernon.
Chief Bender a Chief in Relief
Chief Bender, the American League leader in saves in 1913 with 13, left the Athletics after the 1914 season to join the Federal League; he took with him a 193-103 career record. He then wrapped up his last three years as a pro with a 19-25 record. There is no doubt that Bender was a fine pitcher; there is, however, some speculation as to what his stint in the majors would have been like had he joined a team other than the A's, who could afford to nurse his somewhat fragile arm as they had so many other good hurlers.
Tom Seaton in Tip Top Form
Tom Seaton, of the Federal League Brooklyn Tip Tops, had a dazzling assortment of off-speed pitches, yet no great ability to control them. One of the few pitchers during the dead-ball era who walked nearly as many batters as he fanned, he nevertheless won 83 games over a four-year period, 27 of which came in 1913.
Additional highlights from the 1913 baseball season can be found on the next page.
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