Year In Review : 1909 National League

O ff the field...

The United States military intervened to aid in the removal of President Jose Santos Zelaya from Nicaragua. Since 1893, Zelaya had been trying to create a union of Central American countries by intervening actively in their affairs. After he began executing those who opposed him (including two Americans) the U.S. took over the rebel faction and ousted him promptly.

I n the American League...

On April 27 th , the Chicago White Sox won their third 1-0 game over the St. Louis Browns in three days, setting an early American League record for consecutive 1-0 wins. Hits in all three games (by both teams combined) totaled a meager eighteen.

The Chicago White Sox also set a modern Major League record on July 2 nd after stealing twelve bases (three of home) during a 15-3 massacre over the St. Louis Browns at South Side Park III.

Detroit Tigers legend Ty Cobb clinched the American League home run title after hitting nine, inside-the-park round-trippers. In doing so, he became the only player of the century to lead a league in home runs without ever actually hitting one "out of the park".

I n the National League...

The National League deprived umpires the ability to levy fines and declared that all relief pitchers must retire at least one batter before being relieved themselves.

Pittsburgh Pirate Honus Wagner stole his way around the bases in the first inning of a May 2 nd nightcap against the Chicago Cubs. In doing so, Wagner set a National League record as the first player ever to pull off the feat three times. Amazingly, he would duplicate the effort again the following day.

On July 3 rd , the St. Louis Cardinals tied an unwanted Major League mark after committing seventeen individual errors during a doubleheader loss to the Cincinnati Reds, (10-2 and 13-7).

A round the league...

Play-By-Play, broadcasting came one step closer as the first use of wireless technology to transmit baseball results was conducted at the Columbia University Wireless Club. The proceedings of the game between the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia were relayed from the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia to New York's Waldorf Astoria, where Columbia students received the messages.

National League President John Heydler called an emergency meeting with the league's officials to propose a new two-umpire system for preventing fights with the players.

In June, Benjamin Shibe, of Bala, Pennsylvania, obtained a patent for a new cork-centered baseball. Spalding Sporting Goods later licensed the idea and began manufacturing it for distribution in both the major and minor leagues.

"He (Honus Wagner) was a gentle, kind man, a storyteller, supportive of rookies, patient with the fans, cheerful in hard times, careful of the example he set for youth, a hard worker, a man who had no enemies and who never forgot his friends. He was the most beloved man in baseball before Ruth." - Bill James
1909 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

80

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.339

Doubles

Pittsburgh

39

Hits

New York

172

Home Runs

New York

7

On Base Percentage

Pittsburgh

.420

RBI

Pittsburgh

100

Runs

Pittsburgh

126

Slugging Average

Pittsburgh

.489

Stolen Bases

Cincinnati

54

Total Bases

Pittsburgh

242

Triples

Pittsburgh

17

1909 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

32

ERA

New York

1.14

Games

Chicago

50

Saves

Chicago

7

Shutouts

Chicago

9

Strikeouts

Chicago

205

Winning Percentage

Pittsburgh

.806

New York

Wins

Chicago

27

1909 National League

Team Standings

Pittsburgh Pirates

110 42 .724 0

Chicago Cubs

104 49 .680

New York Giants

92 61 .601 18½

Cincinnati Reds

77 76 .503 33½

Philadelphia Phillies

74 79 .484 36½

Brooklyn Superbas

55 98 .359 55½

St. Louis Cardinals

54 98 .355 56

Boston Doves

45 108 .294 65½

1909 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

St. Louis

568

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.260

Doubles

Pittsburgh

218

Hits

Pittsburgh

1,332

Home Runs

New York

26

On Base Percentage

New York

.329

Runs

Pittsburgh

699

Slugging Average

Pittsburgh

.353

Stolen Bases

Cincinnati

280

Triples

Pittsburgh

92

1909 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Brooklyn

126

ERA

Chicago

1.75

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,094

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Cincinnati

5

Fewest Walks Allowed

Pittsburgh

320

Saves

New York

15

Shutouts

Chicago

32

Strikeouts

New York

735



On May 2, 1909, Honus Wagner stole each base consecutively (first-to-second, second-to-third, and third-to-home) during the first inning of a game versus the Cubs. This was a record setting fourth instance during his career for this baserunning feat.

On July 28, 1909, National League president Henry Pulliam shot himself in the head in his room at the New York Athletic Club. At a banquet in February, Pulliam forecasted this event when he said, "My days as a baseball man are numbered. The National League does not want me as president anymore."

On August 18, 1909, Arlie Latham was chosen by John McGraw to be the Giants first full-time coach. Later that day, Latham steals second base to become the oldest player to date, at age forty-nine, to steal a base.

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