1910 saw 2 non existent pennant races as Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s easily handled the 2nd place NY Highlanders by 14.5 games. The defending AL champion Tigers were 3rd, 18 games out.
In the NL the Cubs won their 4th pennant in 5 years winning 104 games and easily besting the NY Giants by 13 games. The 530 games won by the Cubs over that 5 year span is a major league record that may never be approached again.
During the season baseball introduced a new livelier baseball, which was used intermittently throughout the season. It was used for the entire World Series. The ball had a new cork center inside the rubber core and was used for the entire 1911 season. Average runs per game went from 7 to 9 from 1909 to 1912, and the league average went from .244 to .269 over the same period.
The season started out auspiciously enough when then President Wm. Howard Taft was asked to throw out a ceremonial 1st ball by Washington Senators manager Jimmy McAleer. Taft tossed the ball to Walter Johnson who then proceeded to toss a 1 hit 3-0 shutout against the pennant winning A’s. Things obviously got better for the A’s while the Senators finished 36.5 games out with a 66-85 record, good for 7th.
The season ended on a low note that actually took 70 years to resolve. Before the season the Chalmers Automobile Co. announced that it would give the winner of the batting title a brand new car. On the last day of the season Ty Cobb was hitting .385 and leading Nap Lajoie by a comfortable margin in the batting title. Cobb sat out the final 2 games, as he usually did to preserve his lead, while Lajoie was playing a doubleheader against the St Louis Browns. Lajoie was well respected by the players, while Cobb was considered a dickhead.(My words not theirs). Lajoie miraculously went 8-8 in the doubleheader. St Louis manager Jack O’Connor ordered his 3rd baseman to play deep, allowing Lajoie to easily bunt his way on base. 6 bunt hits later and some questionable score keeping, Lajoie ended up hitting .384, still 1 point behind Cobb. O’Connor was fired for his actions, Cobb got his batting title and both players received a car from Chalmers. Case closed????? Not so much.
In 1981 someone from The Sporting News found an error in Ty Cobb’s stats. He had been credited twice for the same 2 hit game, setting his actual average at .383, now 1 point behind Lajoie. A committee set up by the Commissioner was put together to study the problem, and they voted unanimously not to change the outcome…….pussies.
Baseball Reference and Retrosheet have the corrected stats, as it should be. Despite the duplicity of manager O’Connor, Lajoie won on the correct stats and should be credited with the batting title. My trusty 1996 Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia has Cobb listed as the winner with a .385 average. (Personal aside: My baseball encyclopedia was purchased 12 years ago for $12. It’s huge, completely beat to crap because of its frequent use, and it sits prominently on my bookshelf)
The Philadelphia A’s went on to beat the Cubs in 5 games in the 1910 World Series. More on that later.
Before the start of the season both leagues officially adopted a 154 game schedule.
Both leagues agreed to ban syndicate baseball. An owner can only have a financial interest in just 1 ML team.
Catcher Johnny Kling returned to the Cubs after taking time off to win the World Pocket Billiards title.
Ed Walsh would win the ERA title. His 1.27 ERA helped him fashion a 18-20 record. He is the only ERA winner to have a losing record with 20 losses.
The A’s Jack Coombs would put together 53 consecutive scoreless innings, on his way to a league leading 31 wins for the A’s.
4/20- Addie Joss(Naps) tosses his 2nd career no hitter. 1-0 vs the White Sox.
5/12- Chief Bender(A’s) no hits the Naps 4-0. Only a 4th inning walk prevents this from being a perfect game.
7/19- Cy Young wins his 500th game
7/25- Joe Jackson is traded to Cleveland
1910 Final Standings
Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA Chicago Cubs 154 104 50 0 .675 - 712 499 New York Giants 155 91 63 1 .591 13.0 715 567 Pittsburgh Pirates 154 86 67 1 .562 17.5 655 576 Philadelphia Phillies 157 78 75 4 .510 25.5 674 639 Cincinnati Reds 156 75 79 2 .487 29.0 620 684 Brooklyn Superbas 156 64 90 2 .416 40.0 497 623 St. Louis Cardinals 153 63 90 0 .412 40.5 639 718 Boston Doves 157 53 100 4 .346 50.5 495 701
Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA Philadelphia Athletics 155 102 48 5 .680 - 674 442 New York Highlanders 156 88 63 5 .583 14.5 626 557 Detroit Tigers 155 86 68 1 .558 18.0 679 584 Boston Red Sox 158 81 72 5 .529 22.5 641 564 Cleveland Naps 161 71 81 9 .467 32.0 548 657 Chicago White Sox 156 68 85 3 .444 35.5 457 479 Washington Senators 157 66 85 6 .437 36.5 501 551 St. Louis Browns 158 47 107 4 .305 57.0 451 743
Also born on 7/14, William Hanna, the 1st part of the Hanna-Barbera duo that brought us The Flinstones, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and the Jetsons.
In April Comet Haley makes an appearance in the night sky. Haley has been recorded as far back as at least 240BCE, and pops in the neighborhood approximately every 75-76 years. The last time was in 1986, the worst showing ever of the illustrious comet. It’s next visit will be in 2061. I don’t think I’ll be around to see that one.