Year In Review : 1903 American League

O ff the field...

Automobile pioneer Henry Ford organized the Ford Motor Company. By cutting the costs of production and by adapting the conveyor belt and assembly line to automobile production, Ford was soon able to outdistance all his competitors to become the largest car manufacturer in the world. In 1908 he designed the infamous "Model T" and nearly seventeen million cars were produced worldwide before the model was discontinued in 1928. Later a new design called the "Model A" was created to meet growing competition.

I n the American League...

On May 6 th , the Chicago White Stockings committed twelve errors, and the Detroit Tigers answered back with six of their own. The combined "18-E debacle" set a modern Major League record for the most errors (by two teams) in a single game.

Cleveland Indians rookie Jesse Stovall threw an eleven-inning shutout in his first Major League start to defeat the Detroit Tigers 1-0. The feat still remains as the longest shutout ever for a major league pitching debut.

At a post-season American League meeting, Ban Johnson was unanimously re-elected president and given a raise of $10,000. The American League owners also voted to allow base-running coaches at first and third at all times and to institute the "foul strike" rule in which a foul would be counted as a strike unless there are already two on the batter.

I n the National League...

Boston Brave Wiley Pratt became the only pitcher in the twentieth century to lose two complete games in one day. Piatt allowed fourteen hits, while striking out twelve, en route to 1-0 and 5-3 Pittsburgh Pirates victories.

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Tommy Corcoran set a Major League record after totaling fourteen assists in a 4-2 regulation win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Lave Cross, of the Philadelphia Athletics, had originally racked up fifteen assists during a twelve-inning game in 1897.

The National League-leading Pittsburgh Pirates set an uncharacteristic National League mark for inept fielding after making six errors in the first inning of a 13-7 New York Giants victory on August 20 th .

A round the league...

In Cincinnati, peace talks between both rival leagues continued as the Nationals proposed a consolidated twelve team league, which the Americans promptly rejected. Eventually an agreement was reached to coexist peacefully with the American League promising to stay out of Pittsburgh.

Baseball rules committee chairman Tom Loftus announced that the pitcher's box would not be more than fifteen inches higher than the baselines or home plate.

The inaugural World Series of 1903 was a resounding success and represented the first step in healing the bruised egos of both the veteran National and fledgling American Leagues. Pittsburgh and Boston went head-to-head for eight games proving that great baseball between the two leagues was possible and that a merger would benefit the growth of the sport. Unfortunately, some owners still disagreed with the concept and in 1904 it was prematurely cancelled.

"(Nap Lajoie) wasn't what I would call a good manager. 'Bout all he'd say was, 'Let's go out and get those so-and-so's today.' He knew he could do his share, but it didn't help the younger fellows much." - George Stovall
1903 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Detroit

74

Batting Average

Cleveland

.344

Doubles

Philadelphia

45

Hits

Boston

195

Home Runs

Boston

13

On Base Percentage

Detroit

.407

RBI

Boston

104

Runs

Boston

107

Slugging Average

Cleveland

.518

Stolen Bases

Cleveland

45

Total Bases

Boston

281

Triples

Detroit

25

1903 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

34

Philadelphia

Boston

ERA

Cleveland

1.74

Games

Philadelphia

43

Saves

Boston

2

Detroit

Washington

St. Louis

Boston

Shutouts

Boston

7

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

302

Winning Percentage

Boston

.757

Wins

Boston

28

1903 American League

Team Standings

Boston Americans

91 47 .659 0

Philadelphia Athletics

75 60 .556

Cleveland Blues

77 63 .550 15

New York Highlanders

72 62 .537 17

Detroit Tigers

65 71 .478 25

St. Louis Browns

65 74 .468 26½

Chicago White Stockings

60 77 .438 30½

Washington Senators

43 94 .314 47½

1903 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

332

Batting Average

Boston

.272

Doubles

Cleveland

231

Hits

Boston

1,336

Home Runs

Boston

48

On Base Percentage

Detroit

.318

Runs

Boston

708

Slugging Average

Boston

.392

Stolen Bases

Chicago

180

Triples

Boston

113

1903 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

125

ERA

Boston

2.57

Fewest Hits Allowed

Philadelphia

1,124

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Cleveland

16

Fewest Walks Allowed

St. Louis

237

Saves

Boston

4

Chicago

Shutouts

Boston

20

Cleveland

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

728



On April 30, 1903, the New York Highlanders played their first game at Hilltop Park and defeated Washington 6-2.

On September 3, 1903, Jesse Stovall pitched his first Major League game. His Cleveland Blues defeated the Detroit Tigers 1-0 in an eleven inning shutout - the longest game ever thrown by a rookie pitcher during his Major League debut.

On September 17, 1903, the Boston Americans captured the American League pennant when they beat Cleveland 14-3. They advanced to the first modern World Series in history — do you remember who won?

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