1909 in a Box

Giants Checking In:  Harry Gumbert, Elizabeth, PA

Mel Ott, Gretna, LA

Jimmy Ripple, Export, PA

Giants Checking Out:  Mike Dorgan, Hartford, CT


Record:  92-61, 3rd in the National League, 18.5 games behind Pittsburgh

Pythagorean Record:  86-67, (624 runs scored, 547 runs allowed) 3rd in the National League

General Manager:  John McGraw

Manager:  John McGraw (8th season, 688-432, .614, through 1909)

Ballpark:  Polo Grounds IV    Attendance:  783,700 (1st in the National League)

Park Factors:  Batting – 101, Pitching – 98  (Over 100 favors batters, under 100 favors pitchers)


Days in First Place:  none

Best Month:  June, 16-6, .727

Worst Month:  April, 4-6, .400

Largest Margin of Victory:  beat St. Louis, 19-3, August 11 at Robison Field, St. Louis

Largest Margin of Defeat:  lost to Boston, 10-0, April 27 at the Polo Grounds

lost to Philadelphia, 11-1, May 28 at the Polo Grounds


Longest Winning Streak:  9, August 7 to August 14

Longest Losing Streak:  4, August 26 to August 30

Loved to Face:  St. Louis, 16-5, .762

Hated to Face:  Chicago and Pittsburgh, 11-11 against each, .500


Most Home Runs:  Red Murray, 7 (led league)

Highest OBP:  Al Bridwell, .386

Highest OPS+:  Larry Doyle, 141

Most Stolen Bases:  Red Murray, 48

Highest Position Player WAR:  Al Bridwell, 5.5


Most Innings Pitched:  Christy Mathewson, 275.1

Most Strikeouts by a Pitcher:  Red Ames, 156

Best Starter ERA+:  Christy Mathewson, 222

Best Reliever ERA+:  Al Klawitter, 130

Highest Pitcher WAR:  Christy Mathewson, 9.2

Complete Games:  105

Shutouts:  16


Career Best Seasons:  Al Bridwell, Al Klawitter, Moose McCormick, Bill O’Hara

Career Worst Seasons:  Art Fletcher, Fred Merkle, Tillie Shafer, Jake Weimer


All-Stars:  N/A

Received MVP Votes:  N/A


Rookies of Note:  Louis Drucke, Art Fletcher, Al Klawitter, Chief Meyers, Tillie Shafer

Say Hello To:  George Daly, Art Fletcher, Al Klawitter, Arlie Latham, Chief Meyers, Red Murray, Bill O’Hara, Bugs Raymond, George Schlei, Tillie Shafer, Jake Weimer

Say Goodbye To:  George Daly, Bull Durham, Arlie Latham, Fred Tenney, Jake Weimer


Playing Time:

Youngsters (25 or under):  2,730 PAs (46.4.%);  367 IP (25.5%)  P Al Klawitter, 20, is youngest

Prime (26-29):  2,116 PAs (35.9%);   1,059.2 IP (73.5%)

Past-Prime (30-33):  281 PAs (4.8%)   11 IP (0.8%)

Old Timers (34+):  759 PAs (12.9%)   3 IP (0.2%)   2B Arlie Latham, 49, is oldest



Admiral (George Schlei)

Laughing Larry Doyle

Cy (James Seymour)

Bonehead (Fred Merkle)

Chief (John Meyers)

Buck (Charles Herzog)

Tillie (Arthur Shafer)

Snow (Fred Snodgrass)

Dutch (Art Wilson and Al Klawitter)

The Freshest Man on Earth (Walter Arlington Latham)

Bugs (Arthur Raymond)

Big Six (Christy Mathewson)

Hooks (George Wiltse)

Red (Leon Ames and John Waller)

Rube (Richard Marquard)

Doc (James Crandall)

Pecks (George Daly)

Bull (Louis Durham)

Tornado Jake (Weimer)


Key Transaction:  On December 12, 1908, the Giants traded Roger Bresnahan to the St. Louis Cardinals for Red Murray, Bugs Raymond and Admiral Schlei.

Top Prospects:  On the Giant bench for a second season was 21-year-old Fred Snodgrass, who in 82 plate appearances hit .300/.388/.414 for a 148 OPS+. Although John “Chief” Meyers, a member of the native Cahuilla tribe of California, was a 28-year-old major-league rookie, he would in the years ahead become the Giants’ starting catcher, and a very good one, too.


Memorable Quotation:  “Goddamn! It’s great to be young and a Giant!” — Larry Doyle, when he was both.




Minor League Affiliates: None. This was still the era of independent minor leagues.


What Went Right:  The continuing development of McGraw’s young club (almost half the plate appearances went to hitters 25 or younger) was encouraging, and McGraw saw that they could one day dominate the league. (This same team would win three straight National League pennants, 1911-13.)

What Went Wrong:  Nothing went “wrong,” but there was Bugs Raymond, to whom the fans took a liking because they could read in the press about his efforts to get out from under the minder McGraw had assigned to him so he could get to a bar and go on a bender. When Raymond was sober, he was a good pitcher; when not, not so much. Fortunately, McGraw was having his paycheck sent directly to Mrs. Raymond. There was also Rube Marquard, the 22-year-old for whom McGraw had paid the Indianapolis club of the American Association $11,000. Marquard was a disappointment to the press, so much so that they referred to him as the “$11,000 lemon.” In truth, Marquard was a league-average starter in 1909 who had the misfortune to lose 13 games while winning only 5 in an era when pitchers were judged very much by how many games they “won” and “lost.”



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