MLB Monday has reached 1912 in its second miniseries, looking at World Series MVPs and Managers of the Year in both leagues. We have context from our first miniseries, of course, and we will continue rolling along here—eventually adding some Gold Glove analysis—for another 111 entries until we reach the present day, which will be some time in 2024, of course. Yay, for us having too much time on our hands!
[And make sure to check out our analyses of MVPs and Cy Youngs for this season, too …]
1912 World Series MVP: Buck Herzog, 3B, New York (NL)
The Boston Red Sox topped the New York Giants, 4-3, in an eight-game Fall Classic that included a tie game. One day after taking the loss in Game 7, Smoky Joe Wood won Game 8 to win his third game of the Series. But will he be our MVP? Boston didn’t have a good offensive effort here, in truth, while the pitching staff posted a 2.92 ERA as the Red Sox were outscored, 31-25, overall in the matchup.
Wood—with his 4.50 ERA and 1.364 WHIP over 22 innings—really doesn’t deserve this award. The Red Sox won Game 8 in 10 innings, so it was a very close affair. We actually think the MVP Award should go to one of the Giants position players: third baseman Buck Herzog. He hit .400 in the Series and posted a 1.038 OPS without hitting a home run, but his 5 RBI were tied for the tops in the Fall Classic.
He also stole 2 bases while not committing an error. With 12 hits and 4 doubles, Herzog also was the leader in those categories, too. He had 2 hits in the Game 8 nailbiter, although he did strike out in the top of the tenth inning with a chance to extend his team’s one-run lead—which it later blew in the bottom of the inning to lose the Series. Not his fault, of course, so he’s our MVP pick.
1912 AL MOTY: Jake Stahl, Boston
The Red Sox won the pennant by 14 games, posting 105 wins. Manager Jake Stahl also chalked up the best PPP in the league with a plus-3 mark. That makes this award easy to certify; strangely, Stahl managed just four MLB seasons (1905-06 with Washington and 1912-13 with Boston), and this was his only winning season of the bunch.
He was 33 years old and also hit .301 as the team’s most common first baseman. Stahl would get only 2 more ABs in his MLB career, coming with the Red Sox in 1913. But for this one season, he was magical enough to get it all right, as a player-manager of the Boston pennant winners.
1912 NL MOTY: John McGraw, New York
The Giants won the pennant by 10 games, although Manager John McGraw posted only the third-best PPP mark in the senior circuit (plus-3). He was good, but not great … yet McGraw didn’t screw his players out of a pennant. But is that good enough? The Chicago Cubs finished 11.5 games behind, but their manager, Frank Chance, posted a plus-8 PPP for the season. Should it matter?
We see Chance as being the “better” manager in this case, but with such an also-ran finish, the value behind his managerial machinations takes a serious hit. Also, with the Pittsburgh Pirates finishing second behind a manager (Fred Clarke) who hurt them (minus-2 PPP), that magnifies the job McGraw did with his ball club. We will give this nod to McGraw, his second straight nod from us.