Sunday, May 31, 2009

PTWSW #3: The 1906 Chicago White Sox

Manager: Fielder Jones
Record: 93-58
Ballpark: South Side Park
Owner: Charles Comiskey

Future Hall of Famers: George Davis, Ed Walsh

Team Leaders, Batting

BA: Frank Isbell, .279
OBP: Fielder Jones, .346
SLG: George Davis, .355
OPS: George Davis, .694
2B: George Davis, 26
3B: Frank Isbell, 13
HR: Fielder Jones, Billy Sullivan, 2
RBI: George Davis, 80
BB: Fielder Jones, 83
SB: Frank Isbell, 37

Team Leaders, Pitching

Frank Owen, 22
SO: Ed Walsh, 171
ERA: Doc White, 1.52 (AL leader)
IP: Frank Owen, 293
CG: Frank Owen, 27
SHO: Ed Walsh, 10 (AL leader)
K/BB: Ed Walsh, 2.95
SV: Roy Patterson, Frank Smith, Ed Walsh, 1


Oldest Player: George Davis (b. August 23, 1870)

Youngest Player: Lou Fiene (b. December 29, 1884)

First to Leave Us: Jiggs Donahue (d. July 19, 1913)

Last Survivor: Doc White (d. February 19, 1969)

First in Majors: George Davis (debut April 19, 1890)

Last in Majors: Nick Altrock, as mentioned in the 1903 Boston Americans' entry, was later a Washington Senators coach who made a pinch-hitting appearance on October 1, 1933. The last to play as a regular was Ed Walsh on September 11, 1917.

First to Play For the Franchise: Frank Isbell, Fielder Jones, Roy Patterson and Billy Sullivan were all members of the White Sox during their inaugural 1901 season.

Last to Play For the Franchise: Ed Walsh (July 11, 1916)

Pre-union Team: There doesn't seem to be a true pre-union team for these Sox. Several teams had two future members: the 1901 Philadelphia Phillies, the 1902-04 Boston Americans and the 1905 New York Highlanders.

Reunion Team: The 1909 Washington Senators (Nick Altrock, Jiggs Donahue, Frank Hemphill)

Other: Incredibly, five men named Frank played for this team: Hemphill, Isbell, Owen, Roth and Smith.

Season Summary

They had one of the greatest team nicknames ever: "The Hitless Wonders." It was for good reason too: their team .230 batting average and seven homers were both last in the AL. We know in this day and age that batting average by itself is an overrated statistic, and this famous team has been available as proof for over 100 years. We can see that the Sox also drew the most walks in the AL, were hit by the most pitches and were third in stolen bases. They may have been last in team batting average, but their run production was about league average.

Pitching and defense were strengths as well. Aided by their pitcher-friendly ballpark, they had three starters with WHIPs below 1 and two others who managed 20 wins. They also had several stars with the glove, among them Billy Sullivan, Jiggs Donahue, Lee Tannehill and Fielder Jones. Put it all together and you have the team that allowed the fewest runs in the league.

The White Sox got off to a slow start, staying around .500 most of the first half. On July 25 they were 46-42, in fourth place and nine games out of first, before going on a 23-1 stretch that included a 19-game winning streak. It carried them to the top of the standings. While they had to battle it out with the New York Highlanders down the stretch, they eventually prevailed.

The Sox' crosstown rivals, the Cubs, set a record with 116 wins that year and were the obvious favorites going into the World Series. In possibly the greatest upset of all time, the "Hitless Wonders" defeated the team that could do it all in six games.


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