1902 Baseball Season Headlines
The battle of the leagues raged on, but other occurrences during the 1902 baseball season made news as well. Here are some of the 1902 baseball season headlines:
Vic Willis Lugs Heavy Load
Vic Willis set the modern National League record for complete games (45) and also led the circuit in saves (three). The 1902 season was the last year that his Boston Braves finished in the first division until they copped their "Miracle" pennant in 1914.
Jack Chesbro Tops in Wins
Jack Chesbro was one of the last National League stars to jump to the upstart American League, joining New York in 1903. Prior to bailing out, in 1902, Chesbro topped the senior circuit with 28 wins and set a record with 41 consecutive scoreless innings.
Had Chesbro remained with the Pirates, who were much deeper in pitching than the New Yorkers, he would never have won 41 games in a season as he did in 1904. His arm, however, would almost certainly have been the better for it.
Roy Thomas High in OBP
The mystery surrounding Roy Thomas that may never be satisfactorily answered centers on the frequency with which opposing pitchers walked him; the league's leader in bases on balls for seven out of 13 years, Thomas totaled 1,042 walks. His on-base percentage in 1902 (best in the National League) topped his slugging percentage by nearly 100 points.
Rube Waddell Tops American League in Strikeouts
Rube Waddell, the American League's strikeout leader in 1902 (210), began the season with Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League. After winning 12 games there, he was acquired by the pennant-winning A's and netted another 24 victories, second in the American League only to Cy Young's 32 triumphs.
Joe Tinker Makes His Debut
After starring for Portland in the Pacific Northwest League the previous year, Joe Tinker took over the Cubs' shortstop post in 1902 and went on to lead the National League in both assists and errors. One of the immortal trio (Johnny Evers and Frank Chance were the other two), he gave the Bruins the most service -- 11 full seasons as a regular before he joined the Reds in 1913.
George Davis Hits a Record
George Davis was not inducted into the Hall of Fame until 58 years after his death. After reaching the 2,000-hit mark in 1902 -- a record for switch-hitters -- Davis went on to collect over 600 more (Pete Rose surpassed his 2,660-career hit record in 1976). Davis excelled at every phase of the game and still holds the marks for both the most triples (27, in 1893) and the most RBIs (134, in 1897) in a season by a switch-hitter.
Like Rose, Davis was extremely versatile defensively. Rose began as a second baseman before moving to the outfield and then to third; Davis started as an outfielder before moving to third and then to short.
Socks Seybold Socks 16 Home Runs
A late-season trial with the 1899 Cubs was Socks Seybold's only taste of major league competition prior to the formation of the American League. Past 30 years of age at the time, he gave the A's eight solid seasons -- none of them better than 1902, when he garnered 97 RBIs and tagged 16 home runs, a figure that stood as the loop record until Babe Ruth arrived.
Learn about more highlights from the 1902 baseball season on the next page.