1913 Baseball Season

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.

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Chief Bender 1913 baseball player
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.

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1913 Baseball Season Headlines

Pitchers improved as the learned to manage the new cork-filled baseball, and therefore, most hitting stats declined. See what else made news with these headlines from the 1913 baseball season:

Eddie Cicotte on the Rise

Eddie Cicotte was emerging as one of the American League's top pitchers -- he placed second in the circuit in 1913 with a 1.58 ERA -- when he got caught up in the Black Sox scandal of 1919. After years of being a .500 hurler, he hit .600 in 1913 -- his best season by far prior to 1916, the year he finally began reaching his potential.

Home Run Baker Dips in Average

An erratic fielder early in his career, Home Run Baker was rated one of the soundest third basemen in either league by 1913. The first player in American League history to be a back-to-back leader in both home runs (12) and RBI (117), Baker hit .337 in 1913 to fall slightly short of his .347 mark of 1912 (an American League record for third basemen until 1980).

Gavvy Cravath Makes a Comeback

Gavvy Cravath, who had previously flopped with three American League teams, was given a last chance at age 31 by the Phils after topping the American Association in batting and home runs in 1911. Over the next eight seasons, he was the game's leading slugger, winning six National League home run crowns. In 1913, he was the MVP runner-up, topping the National League with 179 hits, 19 home runs, 128 RBI, 298 total bases, and a .568 slugging average. Cravath clubbed 19 homers in 1914 and 24 in 1915 -- a freakish total for this era.

Jake Daubert Bats .350

The Mickey Vernon of his day, Jake Daubert was a contender for the National League hitting title only twice in his 15-year career apart from the 1916 season -- in 1913 (when he posted a .350 average) and in 1914 (when he had a .329 mark). He won both times. As a fielder, Daubert was quite a bit better than Vernon.

Chief Bender a Chief in Relief

Chief Bender, the American League leader in saves in 1913 with 13, left the Athletics after the 1914 season to join the Federal League; he took with him a 193-103 career record. He then wrapped up his last three years as a pro with a 19-25 record. There is no doubt that Bender was a fine pitcher; there is, however, some speculation as to what his stint in the majors would have been like had he joined a team other than the A's, who could afford to nurse his somewhat fragile arm as they had so many other good hurlers.

Tom Seaton in Tip Top Form

Tom Seaton, of the Federal League Brooklyn Tip Tops, had a dazzling assortment of off-speed pitches, yet no great ability to control them. One of the few pitchers during the dead-ball era who walked nearly as many batters as he fanned, he nevertheless won 83 games over a four-year period, 27 of which came in 1913.

Additional highlights from the 1913 baseball season can be found on the next page.

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1913 Baseball Season Highlights

The 1913 baseball season was marked by a drop in the number of runs scored -- more than 1,000 fewer than the previous season -- and the Philadelphia A's' second triumph over the New York Giants as 1913 World Series champions. Here are highlights of the 1913 baseball season:
  • The A's return to the top in the American League.
  • New York again triumphs in the National League.
  • In the 1913 World Series, the Giants hit just .201 and lose in five games.
  • Christy Mathewson's shutout win in game two of the 1913 World Series is the lone New York bright spot.
  • Home Run Baker hits a two-run homer in game one, leads all 1913 World Series players in hits (nine) and RBI (seven).
  • Brooklyn's Jake Daubert is voted the winner of the 1913 National League Chalmers Award.
  • Walter Johnson hurls a record (since broken) 55.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
  • Mathewson hurls a National League record 68 consecutive innings without giving up a walk.
  • Burt Shotton of the Browns scores a major league record 19.9 percent of his team's runs.

    1813 Baseball Season Highlights
    Branch Rickey's official
    title was "business
    manager" of the
    St. Louis Browns.

  • Daubert takes the National League bat crown (.350) but leads in no other department.
  • Philly's Gavvy Cravath, the 1913 MVP runner-up, is considered by most historians to be the true MVP.
  • Ty Cobb again tops the American League in BA with a .390 mark.
  • Cravath tops the National League in hits (179), homers (19), total bases (298), SA (.568), and RBI (128).
  • Johnson leads the majors with 36 wins, and also leads in CGs (29), innings (346), and strikeouts (243).
  • Tom Seaton of the Phils tops the National League with 27 wins.
Continue to the next page for still more highlights from the 1913 baseball season.

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More 1913 Baseball Season Highlights

Impressive stats, management changes, and a possible third league all added to the excitement of the 1913 baseball season. See more highlights from the year below:
  • The Federal League begins rumblings that it will become a third major league by the 1914 season.
  • Walter Johnson's ERA is a microscopic 1.14, easily the best in the majors.
  • New manager George Stallings lifts Braves to fifth place, their highest finish since 1902.
  • Idled by arm trouble, Joe Wood tumbles to just 11 wins for the Red Sox.
  • Honus Wagner likewise has his last .300 season, as he hits .300 on the nose.
  • Mathewson, Marquard, and Jeff Tesreau all win 20-plus games for the Giants.
  • Three members of the Athletics' $100,000 infield hit .326 or better (Jack Barry does not).
  • Doc Miller of the Phils collects 20 pinch hits, a new record.
  • Washington rookie Mel Acosta, age 17, becomes the youngest player to get a pinch hit in American League history.
  • Phils Cravath, Fred Luderus, and Sherry Magee finish one-two-four in the National League in homers.
  • Ed Cicotte, Reb Russell, and Jim Scott of the White Sox finish two-three-four in ERA in the American League.
  • Philly's Chief Bender saves an American League record 13 games.
  • Three-year vet Vean Gregg of Cleveland wins 20 games for the third straight year.
  • Joe Tinker is sent to the Reds by the Cubs and becomes Cincinnati's manager.
  • Baker leads the American League in homers (12) and RBI (117).
  • Detroit adds big-hitter Bobby Veach to its outfield of Cobb and Sam Crawford.
  • Ebbets Field opens on April 9, Brooklyn losing 1-0 to the Phils.

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