1910 Baseball Season

The 1910 baseball season was another year of dead-ball baseball. With few home runs, baseball for most of the 1910s was low-scoring and dominated by pitching, defense, and the running game. The National League compiled ERAs under 3.00 in six seasons; the American League, seven.

Once again, the greatest stars were pitchers, and a new generation came along to replace Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, and Three Finger Brown. Like those of their predecessors, the names of Walter Johnson and Pete (Grover Cleveland) Alexander still dot the pitching record books.

The 1910 baseball season also saw the beginning of two new trends that would ultimately contribute to the rise of modern, home run baseball in the '20s: the widespread building of enclosed, steel-and-concrete ballparks and the invention of the livelier cork-centered baseball.

Charles Comiskey
Charles Comiskey opened
Comiskey Park in Chicago
in 1910.

The most influential was Comiskey Park, which was considered the finest baseball facility in the world when it opened in 1910 with a then-staggering capacity of 48,600. Washington's Griffith Park and Cleveland's League Park also debuted that year.

The cork-centered ball was invented by Philadelphia's Ben Shibe and, after a successful experiment with its use in the 1910 World Series, was adopted by both leagues for the following season.

Already being referred to as "the dean of managers" -- he had only 41 more years to go as manager of the A's -- Connie Mack brought his team in at 102-48, 14-1/2 games ahead of second-place New York.

Complementing Philadelphia's veteran pitching staff of 31-game winner Jack Coombs (who posted a 1.30 ERA and 13 shutouts), 23-5 Chief Bender, Cy Morgan, and Eddie Plank was a still-maturing lineup that included Eddie Collins, Jack Barry, and Frank Baker -- all under 25 years of age. One of the greatest second basemen in history, Collins led the league in stolen bases with 81 and his team in RBI with 81; he hit .322.

The A's ran away with the American League flag after beating back a midsummer challenge from Ty Cobb's Tigers, whose league-leading offense carried a poor pitching staff to an 86-68 record.

Cobb himself led the league in runs with 106, on-base average at .456, and slugging at .551. His only rival as a hitter was Cleveland's Nap Lajoie, who led Cobb 51-35 in doubles, 304-279 in total bases, and .384 to .383 to take the batting title.

The Cobb/Lajoie rivalry heated up when the Chalmers Motor Co. offered a car to the winner of the 1910 American League batting title, a promotion that inspired the modern MVP Award. Anybody who complains that the criteria for today's MVP Award are vague should look up the 1910 batting race.

The race ended in scandal when the St. Louis Browns allegedly lay back and let Lajoie beat out seven bunts on the last day of the season in order to rob Cobb of the batting title and his Chalmers "30" roadster.

The Browns manager was fired and the Chalmers Award was allowed to continue in an altered form: one car was to be given to the "most important and useful" player in each league, as determined by a committee of sports writers. A player could only win one Chalmers Award in his career.

Frank Chance's Chicago club went 104-50 to win its fourth National League pennant in five years. Outfielder Solly Hofman led the club in hitting at .325 and RBI with 86, and Wildfire Schulte tied for the league lead in home runs with ten. Rookie pitcher King Cole went 20-4 with a league-low 1.80 ERA, and Three Finger Brown went 25-14 with the National League's second-best ERA at 1.86.

However, Chicago's pitching evaporated during the World Series, as the A's batted .316 and Bender and Coombs shut down the Cubs' bats to bring Philadelphia an easy 4-1 Series victory.

Continue to the next page to see some of the headlines from the 1910 baseball season.

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The "dead ball" that continued to be used during the 1910 baseball season kept offensive stats suppressed. Instead, pitchers were the stars, and they made most of the news. Here are some of the headlines from the 1910 baseball season:

Joe Tinker Super at Swiping

Although Frank Chance may have been the base thief of the immortal trio, Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers were not far behind. Tinker, it turns out, was the most enduringly consistent of the three. He stole bases in double digits in all 13 seasons that he was a full-time player. In 1910, Tinker and Chance each had 16 swipes, Evers had 28.

Cy Young Sets Dual Record

Cy Young won his 500th game in 1910, almost precisely 20 years after he won his first. In the 19 seasons between the two marks, he averaged 25.68 victories per year. He also lost his 300th game during the 1910 campaign, a record that seems equally secure.

Addie Joss Hurls Final Shutout

Addie Joss's no-hitter on April 20, 1910, was his last career shutout and one of only five games he won that season. Less than a year after tossing his hitless gem, he was dead of tubercular meningitis. Cleveland players threatened mutiny until American League officials canceled their game the day of his funeral so they could attend it en masse.

Charles Comiskey Builds Park

The 1990 season marked the 81st and last year that the original Comiskey Park, named after White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, was still in use. No other pro team had ever called the same facility home for so long. Comiskey built his park on what had been a city dump. Now, that land is a parking lot next to the second Comiskey Park.

The 1910 Philadelphia A's Take World Title

The 1910 Philadelphia A's may have been the best team in the American League during the dead-ball era. They were so superior that Connie Mack had no need to use Hall of Fame hurler Eddie Plank in the World Series. The A's, in fact, employed just 12 players, a record-low, in beating the Cubs in the fall classic.

Ed Walsh Gets No Help

Ed Walsh posted a 1.26 ERA in 1910, yet finished the season with an 18-20 record -- thanks to his White Sox teammates who had a collective batting average of .211 (they weren't the greatest fielding outfit, either).

Ty Cobb Robbed of 1910 BA Title

Ty Cobb died believing he was the American League batting champ in 1910 with a .383 average, and many historians still feel he was the rightful owner of the crown. However, Nap Lajoie (a .384 average) is not the only performer to cop a hitting or home run or RBI title on the last day of the season under circumstances that arouse suspicion, nor is the incident even the most egregious instance of a title being thrown the way of a more favored player.

Despite his .383 average, Cobb had a rather disappointing year in 1910. He didn't lead the league in hits, steals, or RBI, three departments he had gotten used to winning. Nevertheless, he did top the American League in runs (106) and slugging (.554).

Continue to the next page to discover more highlights of the 1910 baseball season.

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Another dead-ball year in the batting department, the 1910 baseball season is known for the great pitching of Hall-of-Famers like Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, and Three Finger Brown. Below, you will find highlights from the 1910 baseball season:
  • Cubs return to the top in the National League.

    Joe Tinker
    Joe Tinker stole bases in
    the double digits all 13
    seasons that
    he was a
    full-time player.

  • On June 28, Cub Joe Tinker is the first player to steal home twice in the same game.

  • Philadelphia breaks Tigers' three-year reign in the American League.

  • A's win the 1910 World Series in five games.

  • Jack Coombs of the A's wins three 1910 World Series games.

  • A's set the American League mark with a 1.79 staff ERA.

  • Sherry Magee tops the National League in BA (.331), SA (.507), RBI (123), and total bases (263).

  • Christy Mathewson leads the National League in wins (27) for last time.

  • Cub King Cole goes 20-4, leads the National League in win pet. (.833), and sets the National League rookie record for win pet.

  • Ed Walsh tops the American League in ERA at 1.26.

  • Walsh nonetheless loses 20 games, as Sox hit record-low .211 as a team.

  • Coombs leads the American League with 31 wins.

  • Walter Johnson becomes first Washington American League pitcher to win 20 in a season, as he cops 25.

  • William Taft starts custom of president throwing out first ball at Washington home opener.

  • Comiskey Park, one of the longest-lasting ballparks, opens.

  • Johnson leads the American League in Ks (313) for the first of 12 times.

  • Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie vie for the American League batting title that is still cloaked in controversy as to who won.

  • In an effort to produce more scoring, both leagues introduce a new "jack-rabbit" ball during the season.

  • Two amateur teams play the first-ever night game at Comiskey Park.

  • Player salaries range from $900 to around $12,000

  • Earle Mack of the A's is the first son to play in the major league for his father (Connie Mack).

  • Cleveland hosts its first game at new League Park on April 21.

  • Portland of the Pacific Coast League holds opponents scoreless for an OB record 88 consecutive innings.

  • Coombs throws an American League record 13 shutouts.

  • The White Sox compile a major league record-low .261 SA.

  • Sox SA leader Patsy Dougherty's .300 slugging average is 84 points below Lajoie's BA.

  • Tom Hughes of New York no-hits Cleveland for nine innings on August 30, loses 5-0 in 11 innings.

  • Coombs and Walsh lock up in a 16-inning scoreless tie on August 4.

  • Cy Young wins No. 500 on July 19.

  • Addie Joss no-hits the White Sox 1-0 on April 20 for the second time in 18 months.

  • Lajoie leads the American League with 227 hits, 33 more than Cobb.

  • Detroit's Sam Crawford tops the American League in triples (19), RBI (120), and runs produced (198).

  • New York's Russ Ford goes 26-6, setting an American League rookie record for highest inning pot, (.813).

  • Ford's 26 wins and eight shutouts are also rookie records.

  • Lajoie collects eight hits on the last day of the season against the Browns, and seven are bunt singles.

  • Browns third basemen ordered to play Lajoie deep so he can bunt and beat Cobb out of the batting title.

  • Steve Evans of the Cards is hit by 31 pitches.

  • A record 46 minor leagues begin the 1910 season.

  • On Sept. 17, Detroit pitcher Ed Summers hits two homers in one game.

  • On Sept. 30, the Browns' Ray Jansen plays in his only major league game and goes 4-for-5.

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