The 1904 baseball season signaled the start of many Boston vs. New York pennant race match-ups, but there was plenty of news-making during the season as well. Sample a selection of 1904 baseball season headlines below:
Honus Wagner Stars at Shortstop
Never before and never again would two middle infielders dominate every phase of the game as did Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie in the early 1900s. The only two major batting departments in which Wagner failed to lead the National League at least once were home runs and bases on balls. In 1904, he led the National League with a .349 batting average, a .520 slugging average, and 53 steals.
Bill Dinneen is Divine
Like Jack Chesbro, Bill Dinneen fell on hard times after the 1904 campaign, a year in which he went 23-14 in 336 innings without being relieved (a season record in the American League). A 20-game winner in each of his first three seasons with the Boston Americans, Dinneen won only 47 more games in his five remaining years in the majors and just once, in 1908, was a better than .500 pitcher.
Joe McGinnity Hits Zenith
Joe McGinnity averaged more than 27 victories a year in his first eight major league seasons -- no other pitcher since 1893 has won as many games as quickly at the commencement of his career. In 1903, McGinnity also became this century's only 30-game winner to lose 20 games in the same season. He came back in 1904, reaching the peak of his career with 35 wins, best in the National League.
Nap Lajoie Still Going Strong
Nap Lajoie topped the American League in 1904 with a .376 batting average, a .552 slugging average, 211 hits, 305 total bases, and 49 doubles. Only once in his 21-year career did he play on a team that came close to winning a pennant -- in 1908, when the Cleveland club he piloted finished just a half-game behind Detroit.
This was Lajoie's greatest disappointment, in part because he played poorly in the season-ending series with St. Louis that could have brought Cleveland the flag.
John McGraw Wins National League Flag
No baseball immortal aged more rapidly than John McGraw (born in 1873), who captured his first pennant in 1904 as manager of the New York Giants. Photos of him in the early 1900s show a man who seemed too young to have already played ten years in the majors; by the end of the decade, he looked to be deep into middle age.
Harry Davis Kicks In
Like many of the A's stars in the early part of the century, Harry Davis was a slow starter. Following a good season with Pittsburgh in 1897, he went into a tailspin and spent most of the rest of the 1890s in the minors before joining the Mackmen in 1901. By 1904, he was the American League's top first sacker (and its leader in home runs with ten).
Find even more highlights from the 1904 baseball season on the next page.