One of the people helping do my research (in Philly) reminded me the other day of a great source for scanned old newspapers: http://www.fultonhistory.com. The site has a plethora of NY based newspapers including the Brooklyn Eagle and New York Evening Telegram (NYET). I mention the NYET, because this was probably the one newspaper which really opened up my ability to document batter strikeouts. The NYET had play-by-play of all New York based teams for the years I have been researching. This is also a source that Retrosheet has used to document some early play-by-play (pbp)as well. Anyway, with the NYET, I was able to track down well over 95% of the games (home and away) for most of the NY and Brookyln seasons in my research. Some of the games in the "West", St. Louis, Chicago sometimes had partial pbp.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up was that I was asking Ed Morton,. my Philly research person to see if he could pull some 1906 & 1908 play-by-play from similar papers in Philly (Phil Evening Times, Phil Evening Telegram) and he pointed me to fultonhistory. It is a bit of a pain to navigate, but a great resource.
He sent me over a couple of scans I needed of 1906 games between Brooklyn and Philly I was missing from the NYET and realized that I should go back and double check to see if the NYET had any other Brooklyn game pbp that I didn't have (or Retrosheet for that matter). I was able to find nearly 20 missing Brooklyn games and bumped up my "% game documented" number for Brooklyn from 88% to 96%. This leads me to Billy Maloney. In going through the NYET in fultonhistory I found a few more strikeouts for Maloney to add to his significant total in 1906.
Billy Maloney Billy Maloney - BR Stats was a fairly non-descript player who started out as a catcher with the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers and later showed up with the Chicago Cubs/Brooklyn Superbas/Dodgers as a starting outfielder from 1905-08. He had very good speed and seems to have been a fairly decent outfielder, but from my research, it turns out that he had a bit of "Rob Deer" in him.
From 1905 through 1908, Maloney either led the league in strikeouts or was 2nd - and he was only 2nd in 1908 because he played in only 113 games, finishing with 73, two behind leader Harry Lumley, who had 75.
His season by season totals, 1905 to 1908 (w/ games played)
1905 Cubs - 83 k's in 145 games
1906 Brook - 118 k's in 151 games
1907 Brook - 100 k's in 144 games
1908 Brook - 73 k's in 113 games
While this may not seem like much in our modern era, these numbers were significant in the era. Not to say there were not others battling him for the k title in a couple of those years. We already mentioned 1908 and Lumley. In 1905, Maloney "beat out" Mickey Doolan of the Phillies by 2. In 1906 (37 k's) and 1907 (19 k's), his margin of victory was much more.
1906 was definitely his special season. With 96% of his games accounted for, he struck out at least once in over half of his 151 games (78). He struck out 2 or more times in a staggering 27 times (20 - 2k games, 6 3k games, and 1 4k game).
This is by far the leader in this era (2nd is 21 by Danny Hoffman in 1905 AL) - granted not all players have 96% of their games documented.
There were other players of this era (1897-1909), who were among the leaders in strikeouts year after year.
A couple are Jimmy Barrett, the aforementioned Danny Hoffman, Harry Lumley, and Monte Cross.
Barrett's record shows the following among the leaders:
1900 NL - 63 (1st)
1901 AL - 62 (1st)
1902 AL - 59 (3rd)
1903 AL - 67 (4th)
1904 AL - 90 (2nd)
An injuries after this limited his playing time, though he did manage to place 9th (with 64 k's) in only 107 games.
There is loose Ty Cobb tie (pardon the pun). After Barrett became hurt in 1905, veteran Duff Cooley took his place in centerfield for most of the rest of the season, but late in the season, a brash awkward teenager took over in center, Ty Cobb. Not a direct tie, but...
Danny Hoffman Danny Hoffman B-R Batting was the Maloney of the American League - he was a starter, part-time player for the Philly A's, NY Highlanders/Yankees (went by both names), and then the St. Louis Browns in roughly the same years as Maloney, 1905 - 1910.
His totals for those years (through 1909 at this point):
1905 Phil(A) - 106 (1st) in 118 games
1906 NY(A) - 71 (5th) in 103 games
1907 NY(A) - 99 (1st) in 137 games
After that his totals, settled down a little (1908 - 57 in 99 games, 1909 - 63 in 110 games).
Lumley led the NL in strikeouts twice 1904 and 1908.
His totals and rank from 1904 - 1908:
1904 - 105 (1st)
1905 - 63 (3rd)
1906 - 75 (6th)
1907 - 62 (6th)
1908 - 75 (1st)
Monte Cross was a "classic" no hit great field shortstop from the turn of the 19th/20th century who had played on the old Philadelphia Phillies teams and jumped to the crosstown A's in 1902.
His totals and rank from 1897-1903:
1897 Phi(N) - 40 (5th)
1898 Phi(N) - 46 (7th)
1899 Phi(N) - 50 (3rd)
1900 Phi(N) - 51 (4th)
1901 Phi(N) - 91 (1st) (1st year of foul strike in NL)
Those were his "peak" years, although he had a comeback year in 1906, leading the AL with 86.
That's all for now on the main high strikeout hitters. I will profile some of leaders in hardest to strike out in an upcoming entry. The two prominent names - one who is well known for his ability to put bat on ball and a lesser known great field 3rd baseman - dominate this category.
Thanks for reading.
- Jonathan Frankel
- I am a long time baseball fan who became interesting in documenting the "missing" batter strikeouts a few years back as an outgrowth of my interest in the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Grew up w/ the Big Red Machine. I now follow them and my new hometown, Detroit Tigers. Member of SABR off and on since 1979.
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