Somehow during the 1913 baseball season -- possibly by increased use of the spitball and other trick pitches -- major league pitchers began to regain their mastery over hitters. Although the cork-centered baseball introduced in 1911 was still around, runs scored dropped by more than 1,000 and the days of the sub-2.00 individual ERA returned. One new stadium, Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, opened.
For the second year in a row, the New York Giants won in excess of 100 games and ended the pennant race before the weather got hot. John McGraw's team featured a typical combination of an overachieving, starless lineup and two or three of the best five pitchers in the league. In this case, they were the 25-11 Christy Mathewson (who won the National League ERA title at 2.06), the 23-10 Rube Marquard, and the 22-13 Jeff Tesreau (who finished third in ERA at 2.17).
Just about the only Giant hitter to show up on an offensive leader board was outfielder George Burns, who hit 37 doubles. Yet Fred Merkle, Chief Meyers, Larry Doyle, and the rest of the New York attack scored 684 runs, third-most in the league.
Gavvy Cravath, the pre-Babe Ruth home run sensation, turned in the year's best offensive season for second-place Philadelphia. He led the league in RBI with 128, homers with 19, and slugging average at .568; his .341 batting average was second-best. The 1913 Chalmers Award went to Brooklyn's Jake Daubert, the batting champion at .350.
Pitching also figured in the Phillies' rise to second. Tom Seaton led the National League with 27 wins while notching a 2.60 ERA. Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander went 22-8 with a 2.79 ERA.
With great hitting years from Eddie Collins (who led the league in runs with 125), Frank "Home Run" Baker (who batted .337 and drove in 116 runs), and Stuffy McInnis (who hit .324), Philadelphia won its third American League pennant in four years. It finished with a 96-57 record, 6-1/2 games ahead of Washington -- or, to be more accurate, Walter Johnson. "The Big Train" had his finest season in 1913, winning 36 and losing only seven and leading the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, fewest hits per game, and almost everything else. He threw 11 of his career 110 shutouts and pitched a record 55-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings; his 1.14 ERA is the fifth-best single-season performance in history. The Senators played .837 ball with their ace on the mound, .486 without him. Johnson became the first and only pitcher to receive the Chalmers Award.
Chief Bender was starting pitcher for the
A's during the 1913 baseball season.
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The low-powered Senator offense scored almost 200 fewer runs than did the White Elephants. Washington first baseman Chick Gandil hit .318 and drove home 72 runs, and outfielder Clyde Milan led the American League with 74 stolen bases; they were the starts of an attack that finished fifth in the league.
Once again, Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson came in first and second in batting at .390 and .373. Jackson led the league in doubles with 39 and Sam Crawford of the Tigers banged out a league-high 23 triples. None of these feats made much difference for Cleveland or Detroit, who finished a combined 39-1/2 games back. An up-and-coming White Sox staff -- Reb Russell (ERA 1.90), Eddie Cicotte (second in the AL at 1.58), and Jim Scott (also at 1.90) -- compiled the league's top ERA of 2.33.
As they had in 1911, Philadelphia defeated the Giants in the 1913 World Series. Connie Mack's staff of Chief Bender, Bullet Joe Bush, and Eddie Plank had an easy time of it against a New York lineup depleted by injuries to Merkle, Fred Snodgrass, and Meyers. The Giants' pitching fell apart: Marquard had an ERA of 7.00, Al Demaree had a 4.50 mark, and Tesreau a 6.48. The lone exception was Mathewson, who pitched two complete games, including New York's only victory, and allowed two earned runs in 19 innings.
Find out what made the news during the 1913 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1912 Baseball Season
- 1914 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth