For the 1912 baseball season, three new ballparks opened -- Fenway, Navin Field (later Tiger Stadium), and Cincinnati's Redland Field (later Crosley Field) -- and, coincidentally or not, the major leagues reached the offensive peak of the decade. The National League hit .272, the American League hit .265, and all batting stats were up -- especially triples. Three of the all-time Top Ten triples seasons came in 1912: Ty Cobb's 23 (which tied for tenth), Joe Jackson's 26 (which tied for second), and Pittsburgh outfielder Owen Wilson's major-league record 36.
Third baseman Heinie Zimmerman of the third-place Cubs was the league's best hitter. Although he led in doubles with 41, home runs with 14, batting at .372, and slugging at .571, he lost out in the Chalmers voting to New York's Larry Doyle. Doyle's .330 average, Red Murray's 20 triples and 92 RBI, and Fred Merkle's 11 home runs paced a hard-hitting, hard-running Giants team that stole a league-high 319 bases and scored 823 runs, No. 1 in the National League.
Rube Marquard had
a 19-game winning
streak during the
1912 baseball season.
The 103-48 Giants also led the league in team ERA at 2.58. Christy Mathewson went 23-12 and, again, New York had the only National League pitcher to break the 2.00 ERA mark as 23-year-old spitball specialist Jeff Tesreau took the ERA title at 1.96. Rube Marquard won a league-high 26 games, 19 of them coming in a consecutive-win streak that lasted from April 11 to July 3; this tied the 19th-century record set by another Giant, Tim Keefe, in 1888.
The Boston Red Sox rolled over their competition in the American League, compiling, in the process, the decade's highest winning percentage (.691), going 105-47. That put them 14 games up on a Washington Senators team that was lifted single-handedly out of the second division by Walter Johnson, who went 33-12 with a league-leading 1.39 ERA.
Johnson and Boston's Smokey Joe Wood -- who was second in the loop with a 1.91 ERA, a 34-5 record and ten shutouts -- engaged in a personal battle over the American League record for consecutive pitching victories. In early September, Wood had 13 straight victories and was threatening Johnson's record of 16, set early that same season when he met Johnson face-to-face in a dramatic showdown. Wood came out on top in a tight pitcher's duel, 1-0, then went on to tie the record before finally losing to Detroit on September 20.
American League Chalmers Award-winner Tris Speaker hit a league-leading 53 doubles and ten home runs for Boston while batting .383; the Red Sox center fielder also put together a 30-game hitting streak.
Cobb's suspension in May for attacking a heckler in the stands in New York contributed to one of the most bizarre events in major-league history. Angry that their best player had been suspended indefinitely (he hit .410 -- his second consecutive year over .400), the Tigers refused to take the field in a game against Philadelphia, forcing management to recruit amateur ballplayers, former major leaguers, and even some fans from the stands to avoid a forfeit.
Seminarian and pitcher Allan Travers set an all-time record for runs allowed in the 24-2 loss. One of the replacement players, a supporter by the name of Ed Irvin, tripled twice in three times up for a lifetime .667 batting average. Cobb was reinstated by the next Tigers game.
The 1912 World Series was a thrilling, eight-game contest that featured a variety of drama. There was a tie, called by darkness. There was great defense, including the bare-handed catch of a Doyle home run by Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper. And there was a critical dropped fly ball in the tenth inning of game eight by New York center fielder Fred Snodgrass; it came to be known as the "$30,000 Muff" (the dollar amount referring to the winner's share). Boston won the 1912 World Series four games to three.Check out what made headlines during the 1912 baseball season on the next page.
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1912 Baseball Season Headlines
Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker certainly made their share of news during the 1912 season. See some of the headlines from the 1912 baseball season below:
Tris Speaker Best in 1912 American League
Had he played in the National League, Tris Speaker would probably have won four or five batting titles. Because he was in the same circuit with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and George Sisler, however, he is remembered more now for his glove than his stickwork. The American League Chalmers Award winner in 1912, Speaker posted a .383 average and 90 RBI. His career stats prove he was great through and through.Rube Marquard on a Roll
According to the current rule for determining the winning pitcher in a game, Rube Marquard would have had 20 straight victories in 1912 -- all before he suffered his first loss of the season. Once the record skein ended, however, he was only 7-11 the rest of the way.
Larry Doyle Comes Out a Winner
The awarding of MVP honors to Larry Doyle in 1912 was the first instance of a popular player on a pennant-winning team being selected over a more deserving candidate (he had a .330 average and 90 RBI that season). There were at least three contenders in the National League that year: Pittsburgh's Honus Wagner, Chicago's Heinie Zimmerman, and Boston's Bill Sweeney. Wagner finished second in the balloting, Sweeney and Zimmerman tied for sixth.
Jeff Tesreau is 1912 National League ERA Champ
Jeff Tesreau shot off the mark as if he were headed for Cooperstown. After debuting with a 17-7 season and a National League-best 1.96 ERA in 1912, Tesreau went on to win 101 games in his first five seasons, consistently ranking among the ERA leaders. He netted just 17 more victories before the Giants dropped him. Control was his gravest problem, and he never quite solved it. Tesreau ended his seven-year career with a 119-72 record and a 2.43 ERA.
Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker Tear Up 1912 American League
Cleveland's Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb (the "Georgia Peach") were the two finest outfielders in baseball in 1912 -- Speaker turned in a .383 average, a league-high ten home runs, and 90 RBI while Cobb racked up a whopping .410 average and 83 RBI. Fourteen years later, however, they were nearly barred from the game when pitcher Dutch Leonard accused them of rigging a 1919 contest between Detroit and Cleveland.Check out additional highlights from the 1912 baseball season on the next page.
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1912 Baseball Season HighlightsFor baseball fans, 1912 was known as the year of the triple, with Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, and Owen Wilson all setting major league records. Ty Cobb also was notable in this season for his suspension. Below, you will find highlights of the 1912 baseball season:
- The Red Sox win the American League flag.
- The Giants repeat in the National League.
- The Sox win the most exciting World Series to date in seven games (plus one tie).
- Fred Snodgrass is the goat of the 1912 World Series, as he muffs a fly ball in the tenth inning of the finale.
- Buck Herzog of the Giants gets 12 hits in the 1912 World Series, a new record.
- Joe Wood of the Red Sox wins three 1912 World Series games.
- New York's Christy Mathewson allows only four earned runs in 28.2 innings in the 1912 World Series, but goes 0-2.
- The Giants' Larry Doyle wins the National League Chalmers Award.
- Tris Speaker of the Red Sox is the American League Chalmers winner.
Tris Speaker is known as one of
the best outfielders in baseball history.
See more baseball seasons pictures.
- Rube Marquard wins a Major League record 19 straight games for the Giants.
- Walter Johnson wins an American League record 16 straight games.
- Joe Wood begins a record-tying skein of 16 straight wins even while Walter Johnson's 16-straight streak is still going.
- Twice in an 11-day period, Eddie Collins steals six bases in a game.
- Cub Heinie Zimmerman tops the National League in BA (.372), hits (207), homers (14), and doubles (41).
- Ty Cobb leads the American League in BA (.410) with his second consecutive .400-plus average.
- Joe Wood's 34 wins top the American League.
- Home Run Baker leads the American League in RBI with 130 and ties for the homer crown with ten.
- Walter Johnson's 1.39 ERA is the best in the majors by a wide margin.
Click to the next page for even more highlights from the 1912 baseball season.
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More 1912 Baseball Season Highlights
An unprecedented number of triples and Ty Cobb's suspension -- plus his team's bizarre reaction and the game that resulted -- gave fans plenty to talk about during the 1912 baseball season. See more highlights below:
- Chief Wilson of the Pirates cracks an all-time record 36 triples.
- Ted Easterly collects 13 pinch hits, a new record.
- The Boston National League team is first called the "Braves."
- New York features the first brother battery -- Homer and Tommy Thompson.
- Earl Hamilton of the Browns no-hits Detroit on August 30.
- Jeff Tesreau of the Giants no-hits the Phils on Sept. 6.
- George Mullin celebrates his birthday by hurling a no-hitter for Detroit over St. Louis on July 4.
- Ty Cobb is suspended for going into the stands in New York on May 15 to fight with heckler Claude Lueker.
- On May 18, the Tigers respond to Cobb's suspension by going on strike.
- The Tigers are forced to use local amateurs in a game at Philadelphia; A's win 24-2.
- The Red Sox win an American League record 105 games (since broken).
- Joe Jackson hits an American League record 26 triples.
- Tris Speaker cracks 53 doubles, a new loop record.
- Honus Wagner leads the National League in RBI (102) and runs produced (186).
- Rube Marquard and Larry Cheney, a Cubs rookie, tie for the National League lead in wins with 26.
- Walter Johnson wins 33 and also leads the majors in strikeouts with 303.
- Navin Field (now Tiger Stadium) opens on April 20.
- Phils owner Horace Fogel is barred from the majors for accusing the Giants and Cards of conspiring to throw the pennant.
- For the second year in a row, Ed Walsh is the runner-up for the Chalmers Award.
- Walsh wins 27, tops the American League in innings (393), and sets a new American League record with ten saves.
- Fenway Park opens on April 20, the Red Sox beating New York 7-6.
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