This week on MLB Monday, we finally get to the season where we began our first baseball miniseries, so there always will be a companion piece from here on out. This was the first season there was an “official” MVP Award, so the sport began to modernize itself a wee bit, although perhaps that is a matter of perspective for some of you. Either way, enjoy our World Series MVP and MOTYs picks below!
[And make sure to check out our analyses of MVPs and Cy Youngs for this season, too …]
1911 World Series MVP: Jack Coombs, SP, Philadelphia (AL)
The Philadelphia Athletics beat the New York Giants in six games, with the A’s outscoring the opponents by a 27-13 margin. Philly used just three pitchers the entire series while getting 5 complete games out of their three starters—with one, short relief appearance. That is dominance, to the tune of a 1.29 ERA, as two of the games went into extra innings. That being said, the offense was good, too.
The breakout star on offense was A’s third baseman Frank “Home Run” Baker: You may have heard of him, as he hit 2 HRs in the Series and drove in 5 RBI with a 1.108 OPS. But he also made 2 errors in the field, and we don’t like that. As for those three pitchers—Charles “Chief” Bender, Jack Coombs, and Eddie Plank—we see both Bender and Coombs as being the keys to this championship.
Each man had a head-to-head victory against Giants legend Christy Mathewson, Coombs in Game 3 and Bender in Game 4, which was played a week later due to six straight days of rain. Bender took a tough 2-1 loss against Mathewson in Game 1, while Coombs didn’t lose a game in pitching 20 outstanding innings (1.35 ERA, 0.850 WHIP). He’s our guy here, by the slimmest of margins.
1911 AL MOTY: Connie Mack, Philadelphia
The A’s won the pennant by 13.5 games, and Manager Connie Mack (prior MOTY wins in 1905 and 1907) guided the team to a plus-2 PP finish. That combination—double-digit margin in the standings combined with a positive PP mark—has to be a clincher for this award. While Detroit Tigers Manager Hughie Jennings pulled off a plus-7 PP result, it really didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of the universe.
1911 NL MOTY: John McGraw, New York
The Giants took the pennant by 7.5 games over the Chicago Cubs, with the Pittsburgh Pirates finishing 7 games behind the Cubbies. Both Giants Manager John McGraw and Cubs Manager Frank Chance finished even on the PP scale, while Pirates Manager Fred Clarke—a three-time winner here in 1905, 1908, and 1909—ended up with a minus-12 PP mark. He may have cost Pittsburgh a pennant, in truth.
With both McGraw and Chance dueling to a draw, in essence, we give the award (for the first time) to Little Napoleon, and we’re sure it won’t be his last MOTY nod from us. Chance is also a three-time winner here (1906, 1907, and 1910), so McGraw out-managed two of the best ever to get this pennant.