Cleveland made a good acquisition with Tris Speaker in 1916, while Pete Alexander posted a record 16 shutouts. Check out all the major headlines from the 1916 baseball season below.
Edd Roush Makes Good in National League
Although many players who first came to maturity in the Federal League later left their marks in either the National or American League, Edd Roush was the Feds' top graduate by a wide margin. He became the property of the Giants after the Federal League folded (hitting .188 in 69 at-bats), only to be dealt to the Reds before the end of the 1916 season, a year in which he hit .287 in 272 at-bats. It was the trade John McGraw lived to regret more than any other, and he strove for the next 11 years to reacquire Roush before he finally succeeded.
Wally Schang Homers from Both Sides
Wally Schang just might have been the best catcher not in the Hall of Fame. Schang played on six pennant-winners, hit .287 in World Series action and .284 career-wise, and on August 8, 1916, was the first switch-hitter to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. The only thing his career seemed to lack was the recognition clearly due to him. Schang caught for 19 major league seasons.
Dutch Leonard Wins 1916 World Series Finale
An exceptional pitcher early in his career, Dutch Leonard turned into only an average hurler when the lively ball era began. Leonard posted a 0.96 ERA in 1914 (some sources say 1.01) -- still a modern season record -- and had several other seasons in which he was nearly as effective. In 1915, he went 15-7 and won a World Series game. In 1916, he notched 18 victories and bested the Dodgers 6-2 in game four of the 1916 World Series.
Tris Speaker Deal Pays Off
Cleveland's acquisition of Tris Speaker in 1916 was the most sensational trade in history up to that point. It served to make the otherwise lackluster Indians instantly respectable. After the 1915 season, when the Red Sox let him go, Speaker played like a man whose cage had been opened. He came out roaring in 1916, posting a .386 average to beat Ty Cobb by .015 in the race for the batting title. Speaker also led the American League in hits (211), doubles (41), and slugging (.502).
Pete Alexander Posts 16 Shutouts
Pete Alexander blanked every National League opponent he faced at least once in 1916 -- a major league record 16 shutouts. Amazingly, the majority of his shutouts were pitched in his home park, the Baker Bowl -- an Eden for the circuit's hitters even during the dead-ball era.
Zach Wheat Whacks National League Pitching
Like the collars the Tigers sported until 1915, the sartorial flair exemplified by the Brooklyn club's checked home uniform of the 1910s was soon to become extinct in the majors. Zach Wheat, however, would remain with the Dodgers until 1926, setting many team career and season records along the way. In 1916, he posted a .312 batting average (fifth in the league), a circuit-best .461 slugging average, 177 hits (third in the loop), and nine home runs (tied for third). Zach's brother, Mack Wheat, batted just .207 in seven major league seasons.
Find highlights of some of the major events of the 1916 season in the next section.
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