Year In Review : 1903 National 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.

"His misfortune was that he (Sam Crawford) played big league ball fifty years too early. If he were swinging today, he'd be up with the all-time home run leaders." - Ty Cobb
1903 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Philadelphia

107

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.355

Doubles

Pittsburgh

32

New York

Cincinnati

Hits

Pittsburgh

209

Home Runs

Brooklyn

9

On Base Percentage

Philadelphia

.419

RBI

New York

104

Runs

Pittsburgh

137

Slugging Average

Pittsburgh

.532

Stolen Bases

Chicago

67

Brooklyn

Total Bases

Pittsburgh

272

Triples

Pittsburgh

19

1903 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

44

ERA

Pittsburgh

2.06

Games

New York

55

Saves

Chicago

3

New York

Shutouts

Pittsburgh

7

Strikeouts

New York

267

Winning Percentage

Pittsburgh

.781

Wins

New York

31

1903 National League

Team Standings

Pittsburgh Pirates

91 49 .650 0

New York Giants

84 55 .604

Chicago Cubs

82 56 .594 8

Cincinnati Reds

74 65 .532 16½

Brooklyn Superbas

70 66 .515 19

Boston Beaneaters

58 80 .420 32

Philadelphia Phillies

49 86 .363 39½

St. Louis Cardinals

43 94 .314 46½

1903 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

522

Batting Average

Cincinnati

.288

Doubles

Cincinnati

228

Hits

Pittsburgh

1,429

Home Runs

Pittsburgh

34

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.348

Runs

Pittsburgh

793

Slugging Average

Pittsburgh

.393

Stolen Bases

Brooklyn

273

Triples

Pittsburgh

110

1903 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cincinnati

126

Philadelphia

ERA

Chicago

2.77

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,182

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Pittsburgh

9

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

354

Saves

New York

8

Shutouts

Pittsburgh

16

Strikeouts

New York

628



On June 25, 1903, Wiley Piatt of the Boston Beaneaters pitched two complete games in one day versus Pittsburgh and lost them both.

On July 2, 1903, Jack Doscher made his Major League debut with Chicago. This debut made him and his father, Herm Doscher of Troy, the first father-son combination in Major League history.

Joe McGinnity accomplished the nearly impossible when he pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader on the same day. This, in and of itself, is remarkably rare; however, McGinnity repeated this fabulous feat three more times during the 1903 season.

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