YEAR IN REVIEW : 1903 National 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

"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

Philadelphia
107
Pittsburgh
.355
Pittsburgh
32
New York
Cincinnati
Pittsburgh
209
Brooklyn
9
Philadelphia
.419
New York
104
Pittsburgh
137
Pittsburgh
.532
Chicago
67
Brooklyn
Pittsburgh
272
Pittsburgh
19

1903 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

New York
44
Pittsburgh
2.06
New York
55
Chicago
3
New York
Pittsburgh
7
New York
267
Pittsburgh
.781
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

Brooklyn
522
Cincinnati
.288
Cincinnati
228
Pittsburgh
1,429
Pittsburgh
34
Brooklyn
.348
Pittsburgh
793
Pittsburgh
.393
Brooklyn
273
Pittsburgh
110

1903 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Cincinnati
126
Philadelphia
Chicago
2.77
Fewest Hits Allowed
Chicago
1,182
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Pittsburgh
9
Fewest Walks Allowed
Chicago
354
New York
8
Pittsburgh
16
New York
628
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

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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