YEAR IN REVIEW : 1903 American League

Off 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.

In 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.

In 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 .

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"(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

Detroit
74
Cleveland
.344
Philadelphia
45
Boston
195
Boston
13
Detroit
.407
Boston
104
Boston
107
Cleveland
.518
Cleveland
45
Boston
281
Detroit
25

1903 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Detroit
34
Philadelphia
Boston
Cleveland
1.74
Philadelphia
43
Boston
2
Detroit
Washington
St. Louis
Boston
Boston
7
Philadelphia
302
Boston
.757
Boston
28

1903 American League

Team Standings

Boston Americans 91 47 .659 0
Philadelphia Athletics 75 60 .556 14½
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

New York
332
Boston
.272
Cleveland
231
Boston
1,336
Boston
48
Detroit
.318
Boston
708
Boston
.392
Chicago
180
Boston
113

1903 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Cleveland
125
Boston
2.57
Fewest Hits Allowed
Philadelphia
1,124
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Cleveland
16
Fewest Walks Allowed
St. Louis
237
Boston
4
Chicago
Boston
20
Cleveland
Philadelphia
728
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

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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