Making headlines in a rather lackluster season dominated by the effects of the dead ball was Mike Donlin, who had managed to be runner-up for a batting title in both leagues, and Elmer Flick's emergence as batting champ with an average of only .308. Find more headlines from the 1905 baseball season below:
The 1905 Philadelphia A's Win the American League
The Philadelphia A's won 92 games and lost 56 in their quest for the 1905 American League Championship. Chief Bender posted an 18-11 year with a 2.83 ERA and 142 strikeouts. Rube Waddell went 27-10 with a 1.48 ERA and 287 Ks. Eddie Plank went 24-12 with a 2.26 ERA and 210 Ks.
Nap Lajoie Bolsters the 1905 Cleveland Naps
One sportswriter had the audacity to suggest that Cleveland was not renamed "the Naps" in honor of Nap Lajoie, its stellar player/manager, but because the club played much of its games as if it were napping. In any case, the 1905 season was a disaster in the Forest City. The team finished below .500 and Lajoie, who was hitting .329, nearly died of blood poisoning after being spiked. Nap was back the next season, though, leading the league in hits.
Mike Donlin Takes Center Stage
Turkey Mike Donlin was the only man in history to be a runner-up for a batting title in both the American League and National League. Never a batting champ himself, he nonetheless had the highest career average of any outfielder whose peak years came in the first decade of the 20th century.
Donlin placed first in the National League in 1905 in runs (124), came in second in hits (216), and ranked third in batting average (.356). Married to Mabel Hite, an actress who died young of cancer, Donlin himself was drawn away from the game by the stage.
Vic Willis and the 1905 Atlanta Braves Fall Apart
In the years between 1902 and 1905, Vic Willis lost 91 games; that he managed to win 69 during that four-year span is even more of a marvel. With Willis hurling for a 12-29 record in 1905, Boston finished 542 games out of first place in the National League. One year later, minus Willis, the club ended up 66-1/2 games in arrears.
Elmer Flick Snags BA Title
Elmer Flick averaged 17 triples a year during the ten full seasons he played in the majors. Although he won his only batting title in 1905 with a .308 average, the campaign was not his highwater mark in a single offensive department. Owing to illness and injuries, Flick was pretty well washed up as a player when he was 31 years old. He lived until 1971, dying at age 94.
Rube Waddell Sits Out of 1905 World Series
Rube Waddell, far and away the finest pitcher in the American League in 1905 with 27 wins, a 1.48 ERA, and 287 strikeouts -- all circuit-bests that year -- lost his sole chance to participate in a World Series when he was injured on the eve of the that season's finale in a bit of horseplay with teammate Andy Coakley.
Five Balls Peg Frank Chance
Along with being an able manager, Frank Chance was quite possibly the best all-around first baseman of his time. His fiery nature led to numerous beanings, which shortened his career. Although Chance hit .316 in 1905, he is remembered more for being hit by pitches a record five times during a doubleheader. Joe Tinker once said of his teammate, ''Chance and [John] McGraw were born to battle on baseball fields."
Find even more highlights from the 1905 baseball season on the next page.