Our second MLB Monday miniseries continues: World Series MVPs, Managers of the Years (MOTY), and (undeserving) Gold Glove winners, all wrapped into one weekly column that will get fatter as time goes on. The 1905 season was a long time ago, but thanks to the Internet, we still can do research and figure out a lot of stuff retroactively—obviously!
Here we go with a new year of awards analysis …
1905 World Series MVP: Christy Mathewson, SP, New York (NL)
This is a no-brainer decision, as the New York Giants “lowered” themselves to play in the World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics, and in a five-game series that featured 5 shutouts, the Giants beat the A’s for the only time ever in a World Series. N.Y. pitching legend Christy Mathewson tossed 3 complete-game shutouts to set a record that probably will never be broken.
Big Six gave up just 13 hits and 1 walk in those 27 innings, while striking out 18 batters. He won Games 1, 3, and 5 over a span of just six days. For the record, he also hit .250 in the Series where the Giants as a team hit a collective .216 against Philadelphia pitching. So, Mathewson was getting it done in both phases of the game, really. Remember, he also won our first three NL Cy Youngs, too (1911, 1912, 1913).
1905 AL MOTY: Connie Mack, Philadelphia
The A’s won the pennant by just 2 games over the Chicago White Sox, but get this: Philly exceeded its Pythagorean projection by 2 games, while the White Sox underperformed their projection by 5 games. Athletics Manager Connie Mack may have won his team the pennant, while ChiSox Manager Fielder Jones may have cost his team a spot in the World Series. This is profound.
The A’s also went 12-9 against the Chicago during the regular season, too, and not only did Mack lead his team to a series win in the final regular-season series between the two clubs, he also managed to get Philadelphia through 5 make-up games on the road in the final 3 days of the season, including two doubleheaders, with the pennant lead intact. That’s pretty clutch field management.
1905 NL MOTY: Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished second in the standings, 9 games behind the Giants, but they should have finished third, 15 games behind New York. That was the difference provided by Fred Clarke from the Pittsburgh dugout. In contrast, the Chicago Cubs (with their two managers, each named Frank) played to a minus-12 wins against their Pythagorean projection.
The Cubs could have won the pennant with better managing, but instead the Pirates snuck ahead of them in the standings to claim the silver prize (which no one remembers, of course). Clarke made that difference for Pittsburgh, which finished a combined 22-22 against the Giants and the Cubs while beating everyone else on the schedule pretty thoroughly. That’s impressive, and we “remember” it now.