1907 Baseball Season

When former Orioles shortstop Hughie Jennings took over from Bill Armour as manager of the Detroit Tigers, the first thing he did was insert the young Ty Cobb into the everyday lineup. This move helped the Tigers climb 21 games in the standings, from sixth place in 1906 to first in the 1907 baseball season.

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Hughie Jennings
Hughie Jennings became the manager of the
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With Cobb batting behind him in the cleanup slot, Sam Crawford hit .323 and slugged .460 (both second in the league to Cobb), scored an American League-high 102 runs, and banged out 34 doubles and 17 triples.

All summer long, Cobb drove in Crawford and lead-off man Davy Jones -- who was second in runs scored at 101 -- and the Detroit offense tallied 694 runs, 89 more than the also-ran Yankees' second-place total. Cobb himself drove in 119 runs, collected 212 hits, 283 total bases, and 49 stolen bases, all league-leading figures. He also led in batting at .350 and slugging at .468.

The resurgent A's had a deep staff, led by Eddie Plank (24-16, 2.20 ERA) and 22-year-young Jimmy Dygert (20-9, 2.34 ERA), along with Rube Waddell, Chief Bender, and Jack Coombs. Philadelphia made it a close race, but with 10 players over age 30 the A's ran out of gas at the end of the season.

The defending champion White Sox posted almost the same numbers as in 1906, scoring the third-most runs in the league and allowing the fewest. But in the Year of Cobb, they could finish no higher than third. Washington finished in the cellar, but the Senators debuted a young fastball pitcher named Walter Johnson, who went 5-9 with a 1.86 ERA and 5.5 strikeouts per game.

The National League race could be summed up in one word: Chicago. Frank Chance's juggernaut fell off to a 107-45 record, 17 games in front of a Pittsburgh team that featured the National League's best offense; a resurgent Honus Wagner won his fifth batting title at .350 and also led the league in doubles (38), stolen bases (61), on-base average (.403), and slugging (.513).

With no hitters over .300, the Chicago attack slipped by more than a hundred runs, but the Cubs pitching continued its utter domination of National League hitters.

Led by Jack Pfiester's league-leading 1.15 ERA (the fifth-lowest in history) and Carl Lundgren's 1.17 ERA (the eighth-best ever), Chicago pitchers occupied four of the top five spots on the ERA leader board. Each member of the five-man staff compiled ERAs under 2.00 and the team allowed 390 runs, only nine more than in their 1906 tour de force.

The Phillies rode to third place in the National League as outfielder Sherry Magee led the National League with 85 RBIs and hurler Tully Sparks had a 22-8 record with a 2.00 ERA. New York slipped to fourth as age and years of overuse finally started to take its toll on Iron Man Joe McGinnity. He had an 18-18 record with an unusually high 3.16 ERA.

The 1907 World Series was a mismatch, with Detroit managing only a first-game 3-3 tie out of the five games played. For the remainder of the Series, the Tigers were held to three runs -- never more than one run in a single game -- as each of four Cubs starters went 1-0 and the staff posted a composite ERA of 0.75. Cobb and Crawford batted only .200 and .238 and managed only two extra-base hits between them.

But the biggest surprise of the Series was that Cobb was shut out on the basepaths by Chicago catcher Johnny Kling. Led by Jimmy Slagle's six stolen bases, the Cubs outstole the Tigers 16-6.

Find out what made news during the 1907 baseball season on the next page.

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Baseball's top batting average jumped to .350 in 1907. Find out what else made news as you peruse some of the headlines from the 1907 baseball season:

1907 Detroit Tigers Seize the American League Flag

The first Motor City crew to capture an American League pennant, the 1907 Tigers, looked like a surly bunch, and most were. Ty Cobb was the batting king at .350. Sam Crawford hit .323.

Nick Maddox Stirs Up Hopes

Nick Maddox won five late-season games in 1907, his no-hitter against Brooklyn on September 20 among the victories, and seemed to deliver on his promise when he knocked off 20 victories for the Pirates the following year. By 1911, however, he was back in the minors for good.

Al Spalding Rewrites History

The commission of Al Spalding concluded that Abner Doubleday invented baseball. The decision was, for the most part, based on the vague testimony of one witness to what was purported to have been the first game.

Although many baseball people knew better, the Hall of Fame was nevertheless put in Cooperstown, New York, a town Doubleday may never have visited, let alone made the site of a new sport.

Ed Walsh Goes All Out

Ed Walsh is reputedly the player Ring Lardner used as his mode to construct Jack Keefe, the cocky bumpkin protagonist in You Know Me, Al. Walsh was described by one writer as the only man who "could strut while standing still." He worked 866 innings in 1907 and 1908, a full career for some modern-day pitchers. He led the American League with 37 complete games and a 1.60 ERA in 1907.

Bill Donovan Goes 25-4

Historians are still trying to piece together how Bill Donovan was able to post a 25-4 record for the 1907 Tigers on a 2.19 ERA, while teammate George Mullin, whose ERA was only four-tenths of a run higher, managed to become the only hurler in this century to lose 20 games for a pennant-winning team.

Honus Wagner Hits National League-High .350

An examination of the failure of the Pirates to win a pennant since 1903 reveals that, outside of Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh didn't have much in its arsenal in 1907. Wagner outhit the entire National League by 107 points and his team by 96 points to post a .350 average that season. At that, the Pirates had the top club batting average in the league.

Find even more highlights from the 1907 baseball season on the next page.

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The 1907 baseball season is also known as the "Year of Cobb." In just one season, Ty Cobb drove in 119 runs, collected 212 hits and stole 49 bases. Below, you will find highlights from the 1907 baseball season:
  • The Cubs repeat as National League champs.

    Al Spalding 1907 baseball season
    Al Spalding created a
    commission to unearth
    the origins of baseball.

  • Al Spalding creates a commission to unearth the origins of baseball.

  • The Tigers win their first American League flag.

  • The Cubs are the first to sweep a World Series (though one of the games is a tie).

  • The Cubs limit the Tigers to six runs in a five-game Series.

  • The Cubs are so pitcher-rich that 18-game winner Carl Lundgren (1.17 ERA) isn't even needed in the Series.

  • Chicago's Harry Steinfeldt leads all Series hitters with a .471 BA.

  • Ty Cobb wins his first batting crown (.350) and first steals crown (49).

  • Honus Wagner easily tops the National League in BA (.350), SA (.513), total bases (264), and steals (61).

  • Christy Mathewson leads the National League in wins (24) and strikeouts (178).

  • Cards rookie Stoney McGlynn leads the National League in innings (352), CGs (33), and losses (25).

  • Jack Pfiester tops the National League in ERA (1.15), as the Cubs have four of the loop's top five in ERA.

  • Cleveland's Addie Joss ties for the lead in wins (27) and is third in ERA (1.83).

  • Chicago's Ed Walsh hurls 422 innings and leads the American League in CGs (37) and ERA (1.60).

  • Rube Waddell wins his seventh, and last, American League strikeout crown (232).

  • Chick Stahl, Boston American League player/manager, commits suicide during spring training.

  • Walter Johnson debuts with Washington.

  • Cy Young, now 40, wins 22 games and posts a 1.99 ERA.

  • Philly's Harry Davis wins the last of his four consecutive American League homer crowns, as he cracks eight.

  • The Pirates top the National League with a .254 BA., the lowest ever by an National League leader.

  • Catching for New York in the American League, Branch Rickey allows a record 13 stolen bases to Washington on June 28.

  • After owning the Braves since 1877, Arthur Soden sells them to the Dovey brothers.

  • Big Jeff Pfeffer of Boston National League no-hits Cincinnati on May 8.

  • Nick Maddox of Pirates no-hits Brooklyn on Sept. 20.

  • On August 11, Ed Karger of the Cards pitches a seven-inning perfect game.

  • The Boston American League team is first called the "Red Sox."

  • A rule is put in that any appearance by a player in a game counts as a game played.

  • Jim Price of the New York Press revives the practice of recording RBI.

  • Claude Ritchey tops National League second basemen in FA for a record sixth consecutive year.

  • Traded to the Braves, Ginger Beaumont returns to the National League top spot in hits (187).

  • Cobb's 119 RBI top the major league by 27, as American League runner-up Socks Seybold has 92.

  • Wild Bill Donovan of Detroit leads the American League in win pct. (.862).

  • Cleveland refuses a trade offered by the Tigers -- Elmer Flick for Cobb even up.

  • Cincinnati manager Ned Hanlon is fired after a sixth-place finish and never again manages in majors.

  • Braves outfielder Cozy Dolan dies of typhoid fever.

  • George Mullin loses 20 games for Detroit, even though the Tigers lose just 58 all year.

  • Jake Beckley becomes the first to play 20 years in the major league without ever playing on a pennant winner.

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